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Saturday 9 on a Sunday: Mahler: Symphony No. 8

LD Leonard Bernstein / Mahler : Symphony No. 8 in 「, The Thousand Symphonies  in 」 | Video software | Suruga-ya.com

Hi everyone, hi, here I am, here I am (she said, breathlessly running in)! I know, I'm a day late and a dollar short.

Skip if you don't want to read a medical complaint.  {I did something to my entire upper half the other day. Thursday. I'm sitting on the edge of my bed, and I turn, and reach at the same time, in apparently just the wrong way, and throw my entire pectoral girdle out of alignment. You know, I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, which affects the collagen and other structural elements of the body. So whereas you or most other people might general have organized, intact scaffolding that makes nice, organized building blocks for the body to build on and move around, my my scaffolding ... is like trying to nail Jell-o to the wall.  Anyway, from my right fingers and thumb, up my wrist all the way to my shoulder, throughout my clavicle and rib cage, encompassing both shoulders, down the left arm, and to all five left fingertips, there has been a complete or at least partial dislocation of just about everything in there. The pain has been intense. It still is. I'm amazed I can type this today, because I could barely use my right hand yesterday. I think I'm making progress, but I also know that for the past three days, I should've gone to the Emergency Room and haven't. Eh, well.}

We've had an eventful week besides, mostly with the kids and not a lot I can talk about here, so that's a shame. Ha! If you want to join in with yesterday's (why not? The more the merrier! Better late than never!) Saturday 9, link up here. As for me, I'm jumping in:


Saturday 9 -- Mahler: Symphony No. 8 (1968)

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

1) Mahler's No. 8 is sometimes referred to as "Symphony of a Thousand" because it was scored for a large orchestra and choral force. Do you often listen to classical music?

Five Facts You Probably Didn't Know About Beethoven | by Seattle Symphony |  Medium

I sometimes do. Not enough to really know what I'm talking about. My favorite is Beethoven's 9th. To me, it's an absolute gift to the world, the masterpiece among masterpieces. I cry sometimes when I listen to it, knowing he wrote it and re-rewrote it and re-wrote it until it was perfect, which it was, even though he couldn't hear it. And then he died. I'm so moved by it.

2) This piece has solos for each of the main vocal ranges: soprano, alto, tenor, bass. Do you know which range your voice is in?

I'm a first soprano.

3) Historians tell us Mahler kept fit by swimming and riding his bike along the Alpine trails. What's your favorite form of exercise?

yoga day

I can't do a lot these days, but when I can, I prefer to do to yoga. If it's summer, I like to try to get to the beach as much as I can.

4) Mahler could be difficult to work with because when it came to his music, he was a stickler over even the most minor details and wouldn't give an inch. Would you rather work as part of a team or on your own?

Andy Ellwood | I in team, Funny quotes, Team quotes

Not gonna lie, I would much rather work on my own, unless I had an amazing partner who was always on the same wavelength as me. Like Hubs.

5) This week's featured artist, Leonard Bernstein, said his father didn't want him to pursue music. Instead the elder Bernstein wanted his son to either join the family business (a beauty supply company) or become a rabbi. Did your family try to influence your choice of career?

Gene writing: The future of genetic medicine?

My father did, even though he's complained bitterly about his father doing that to him for his entire life. He's still doing that, at age 80! I wanted to go into genetics when I was in college, and I was talking on the phone to my dad about it one day, and he gave me a stern warning about it basically being against our his religion cult, and I took it seriously enough not to further pursue genetics. I'm still a bit disappointed that I didn't go into genetics, but it's okay because I did get what I wanted: a loving family.

6) Bernstein's best-known work is West Side Story. Without looking it up, can you name a song from this beloved Broadway classic?

I cannot.

7) Born in Lawrence, MA, Bernstein "went home" when he performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood in Lenox, MA. Tanglewood has played host to a variety of musical artists. In 2022, Ringo Starr, Bonnie Raitt, and James Taylor all performed there (with James Taylor scheduled to return this summer, as well). What's the first concert you ever attended?

Whitney Houston | Biography, Songs, Albums, Death, & Facts | Britannica Jon Bon Jovi - Rotten Tomatoes

I can't remember if it was Whitney Houston or Bon Jovi that came first. Both were around the same time period. I do remember that Whitney was supposed to be at the Great New York State Fair, but she got rained out and wasn't going to take the chance with her voice (it was an outside venue), so her concert was rescheduled, and we went to that one as a family of six. For Jon Bongiovi and crew, it was just the four of us girls, probably when I was much too young to be learning what a "contact high" was - and getting one.

8) In 1968, when Bernstein released this album, a sitcom called Mayberry R.F.D. premiered. It was a spin off of the highly successful Andy Griffith Show, which ran from 1960 to 1968 and is still broadcast and streamed today. Were you an Andy Griffith Show fan?

Andy Griffith Show': Who Was in More Episodes, Barney Fife or Aunt Bee?

Ehh, I guess. I don't seek it out, but if it's on at 3 AM and I'm alone in a hospital bed and can't sleep, it's a good way to pass the time. I'm not an anti-fan, I just dont' seek it out.

9) Random question: When people ask for your advice, what do they usually ask you about?

How to Read Repeats in Knitting Patterns Article | Interweave

Usually it's either knitting or crochet, or parenting, especially of LGBTQ kiddos. Other stuff sometimes, but mostly that. Oh, and if they're one of my kids, then doing their taxes.


Probably no one will read this, but if you did, thanks for stopping by and have a delightful week!



Saturday 9: Beautiful

Moby – Beautiful (2005, CD) - Discogs

Happy Saturday, friends, neighbors, and kids of all ages! I'm getting a lah-haaaate start today. I've battled daily migraines for more than my entire adult life, save for a couple of years around when I had my youngest kiddo, and this last week has brought some of the worst in a long while. Seriously bad. But anyway, whatever; I'm here now, the woman of the hour, and you can all sit down and stop clapping now. Seriously, it's embarrassing.

I jest, I kid, I joke, I josh.

I hope you've all had ridiculously wonderful weeks well worth the wait! And now let's jump into the reason we're all here. Link up here if you're joining us this weekend. Away we go:


Saturday 9: Beautiful (2005)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.
1) In this song, Moby sings about a self-involved couple who believes others are fascinated by their glamorous lives. Tell us about the most interesting couple you know.
Top 10 Pool Party Must-Haves
I know two really interesting couples, but I can't write about them, because of the moderate chances of them seeing this. So I'll write about our very self-absorbed neighbors, instead. We live in a new-build house, on a new-build street, in a new-build neighborhood. You get the picture. So the minute their house gets finished being built and they move in, these yutzes through up their fence and build a pool. Which is fine of course, except they throw pool parties every weekend night until long after midnight, with loud and drunken revelers of which I am not a one, and it makes our loud dog bark her fool head off. At 2 AM every Friday and Saturday night, with police often called to break up the noise situation, hey hey hey? OH, no. Go join a book club, already. 
2) This song was inspired by the proliferation of reality shows, where celebrities share their lives on camera. Does the idea of becoming rich and famous in exchange for letting a film crew into your home appeal to you?
Not. Even. A. Little. Bit.
3) "Beautiful" appears in the soundtrack of the movie The Devil Wears Prada, starring Meryl Streep. She was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance, which is no surprise because she has more Oscar nominations than any other actor or actress. Do you have a favorite Meryl Streep movie?
Well, technically this is a movie, right?
But honestly, I think I really liked her best in Mamma Mia!
Downton' star will be playing young Meryl Streep in 'Mamma Mia!' sequel -  British Period Dramas
4) Moby has openly discussed how Christ has influenced his life and art. Do you consider yourself religious or spiritual? If yes, how do your beliefs impact your daily life?
I'm Christian, but rather than particular religiosity, I consider myself spiritual. I personally use my beliefs to help me weigh the effects of my actions wherever I can, whenever I'm able, if it matters. I also have a sort of hierarchy of importance to whom or what those actions would matter to help me choose. I sorta think we all do that.
5) His real name is Richard Melville Hall. His parents began calling him "Moby" almost immediately because they felt "Richard Melville Hall" sounded too big for a baby. When did you most recently hold a baby?
Well, here I am holding my youngest on the day of their birth nearly 18 years ago, but I know it hasn't been that long. It's probably been closer to nine years, though! That's likely a good thing right now, since with massive muscle spasms I'd hate to yeet a baby the way I frequently do my Diet Cokes.
Oh yeah, and I knitted this layette for this wee boy (blanket followed), head to toe, while he was in his mommy's tummy. He's thirteen (fourteen?) now. I loved making this.
6) He began shaving his head when he was in his 30s. It was at the request of a girlfriend, who said she liked bald men. Would you change your appearance to please your lover?
I would. I appreciate feedback.
7) Moby's house was once owned by Marlon Brando and was later rented to The Beatles. What do you know about the previous residents of your home?
Or anywhere, probably : r/USPS
No prior owners here, ossifer.
8) In 2005, when "Beautiful" was released, actress Ruth Warrick died. She began her career in radio, made her film debut in Citizen Kane, and she was best known as matriarch Phoebe Tyler on All My Children, a role she played for 35 years. What's the longest you stayed at the same job?
Well that would be Mum to these three knuckleheads, and I'm a good 21 years in now. Wouldn't trade it, except to go out and practice getting eaten by a shark, but they won't hear of it.
9) Random question: Without looking, do you know how much money is in your checking account right now?
I know probably within ten dollars, but not to more exactness than that. I'm happy with the amount, especially after laying out a pretty penny last night for riding gear for Noah's (that youngest baby of mine, above, formerly known as "Sophia") re-beginning of their equestrian lessons. Shh, they don't know yet; don't tell 'em!
Well, that took me a long time, as I was rocking out a little bit to more music than I usually do when I write - and when I have a worst-of-the-worsts migraine. If one can quietly rock out? Y'all have a good - no, great - week ahead and call me to remind me to watch the State of the Union, will you? kthx.

Sunday Stealing: Keeping The Conversation Going

SpaceX Lifts NASA Astronauts to Orbit, Launching New Era of ...

Hey there, hi there, ho there!

If you were anything like us on Saturday, you were transfixed by the NASA astronauts' launch into space by the SpaceX rocket, Dragon. I swear I held my breath for a very long time (by an asthmatic's standard's, I suppose), thinking of the Challenger and the Columbia. I've always wanted to go to space. What an exciting day!

Link up here if you want to join up with the rest of us thieves this weekend!


Stolen from Two Drifters

1) What do you think is the greatest television show of all time?

Oh, I couldn't say that. People like what they like. I myself like something one day in one mood and an entirely different thing the next day, maybe. But I tend to lean toward more subtle, cerebral humor. I've long called Larry David from "Curb Your Enthusiasm" my 'boyfriend,' if that's any indicator!

2) Would you rather win a Nobel Prize or an Academy Award?

A Fisherman in September: Thoughts on The Old Man and the Sea ...

Oh, I would absolutely love to win a Nobel. I use to imagine that I would win one in science by age 30. I was foolish, haha! But I guess it's not too late. Maybe I could win for Literature, and join the ranks of Pearl Buck, Ernest Hemingway, and Bob Dylan, to name a few.

3) What one food would you banish from this earth if you could?

I mean, there's haggis, there's foie gras, balut... you name it! If you want to look at more disgusting foods, have a look here or here.

4) What’s the scariest story you’ve ever heard?

Speech: Donald Trump wins 2016 presidential election - YouTube

Area Triangle Tree Font, Up Arrow Available In Different Size ... Area Triangle Tree Font, Up Arrow Available In Different Size ... This one! Area Triangle Tree Font, Up Arrow Available In Different Size ... Area Triangle Tree Font, Up Arrow Available In Different Size ...

5) Who is the most famous person you have ever met?

Boom (2009) - IMDb

Well, I typically say Dave Barry, but this time I'm going to say my daughter Chloë. She's seen here in the short SAG film, Boom, and has acted on TV, modeled in national ads, and so on.

6) What’s something you’ve done that most people wouldn’t know or guess about you?

When I was nine, I started dance lessons in central New York. After my first year, I was invited to attend Dance Olympus in New York City for training from some famous, international choreographers. Janet Jackson and Paula Abdul were supposed to be there that summer, but both had family matters keeping them from going. But I did get some great training from Jimmy Locust, who was my favorite choreographer there. Lots of fun!

7) You’re strapped in a rocket ship about to go to the moon. Are you thrilled? Or terrified?

Oh, I'd be thrilled. I wouldn't need to accomplish anything else. That's the ultimate.

8) What is the correct way for toilet paper to sit on the roll?

The Correct "The Right Way And The Wrong Way To Hang Toilet Paper ...

Hubs and I both agree it's the way on the left, above. I think we're in a very small minority of couples who agree on that!

9) Talk about a mistake you made, or something you regret.

Bimini Scuba Center | Hammerhead Shark Diving

Um, well, I guess I don't know that I truly believe a "mistake" is a mistake unless you learn nothing from it. But after I got my bachelor's degree,  I was recruited by a researcher at RSMAS to do a Master's degree on copepods, but after a few weeks in her lab I rejected the idea because I'd always planned to skip the Master's and go right for the doctoral, and I wasn't ready to give up that goal. And then, I wanted to do my internship at Mote in shark fisheries, but they were pushing hard for me to do the internship in chemistry. I have a strong chemistry background (that was my minor), but I just couldn't see myself being a chemist for life. I held out, and I got a fisheries internship. Sometimes my bullheaded, stubborn persistence has paid off, and sometimes my insane, rash, spontaneity has paid off. And sometimes they haven't. I've tried to learn which way to be in which situations.

10) What would be the best gift I could give you?

Meditation | Wall Street International Magazine

Inner Peace

11) What makes you feel better when you’re sad or stressed?


These guys. They're it. They're everything.

12) What is the most romantic movie you’ve ever seen?

Disney Censors “Splash” with Digital Fur To Make It Family ...

Oh, there's so many. One of the first rom-coms that has really stayed with me all my life is Splash. I love those two!

13) What is the worst date you’ve ever been on?

clipart thumbs down - thumb signal PNG image with transparent ...

Back in Miami (the first time, not the second time with my family), I went on a blind date in Coconut Grove with a guy who was really weird, really not my "type" appearance-wise, and then he told me he was a devil worshipper. No second date, obvi.

14) What is the glue that keeps couples together?

50 Relationship Quotes to Strengthen Your Relationship - TheLoveBits

Communication is absolute key.

15) What was your first crush?

Matt Dillon | The outsiders, Dallas winston, Young matt dillon

When I was really young, about five years old, I had the biggest crush on Matt Dillon. I think my parents were watching The Outsiders, and I saw him and was just in love. Ha! Then much later on, I saw him in an interview with Dave Letterman, and he sounded like such an idiot. Illusion shattered.

16) When did your parents talk to you about the birds and the bees?

Autocowrecks - birds and the bees - Funny Auto-correct Fails ...

They did not. Ever.

17) What is your greatest achievement?

Squalor Holler: Strong at the broken places

Still being alive. Still being married. Having all my children truly love me as a mother. I've been knocked around, taken a lot of shit in my life, wanted to be dead many times, self-sabotaged a lot of things that were good for me... and yet I'm still here, things are still clicking, and it's hard.

18) Were you close to your parents growing up?

First Church of Christ, Scientist, Englewood, Florida

I was raised in a cult. "A cult for the cultured," they called it. So, no. No, I was not.

19) What was the most life-changing event you’ve ever experienced?

The tragedy of miscarriage and abortion 'rights' | Opinion | LifeSite

There have been a lot of, like, BIG things in my life that I could pick, and I wish that I could say something else... but it was when my son died. That was pivotal. And it was definitely what kicked the bipolar disorder into becoming clearly evident, I believe.

20) Have you ever had a falling out with a friend? What happened?

Linux - Wikipedia

Oh, of course. I'm hot-headed, I have a fiery temper, and I do a lot of really stupid things without thinking first. This one time in 1994, when I was a freshman at Miami and when my BFF Lisa was a freshman at SUNY Geneseo, we were both getting into and getting used to email and the internet for the first time. Her school used LINUX, and mine used something else. I don't even remember what else... but they were completely different systems. We were trying to describe and explain to each other over email what our systems looked like, and I didn't understand hers - and all our other friends who had also stayed in New York and had LINUX-based email systems - at all.  So they teased me and dared me to try to hack into her account and read her email, because I "couldn't do it." Only, she and I had some code words, and I got right in and figured things out. She and everyone were so pissed at me, but I was only fulfilling a dare! I still feel bad about it to this day. Silly way to end the post, right?


It's 0522 on Sunday morning, the last day of May. I can't believe we're entering the 6th day of 2020 tomorrow. This has been the strangest year...! Can we maybe have a redo?

Enjoy your Sundays. I hope it's sunny and warm where you are!


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

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


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

Boise Pride Festival 2018 011
Boise Pride Festival 2018 020

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


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

Image result for silly resolutions

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


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

Image may contain: 5 people, including Timothy Goetsch, people smiling, people sitting

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

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, closeup

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


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


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

Rob Breast Cancer pin

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


What places have you visited?

11 123117

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

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

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

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

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

Any new pets? Lost a pet?

Yes; critters we've lost this year:


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


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

DSC_5310 (1)
Jack's old gerbil, Lucy, who lived a good, long, loved life with him, passed away peacefully. She is missed.

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

Critters we've gained this year:

71 September 6 2018

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

Fudge 1

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

Rocky and Jack 1

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


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

Wishful Thinking House

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


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


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


What was your biggest achievement last year?

Image result for Christian Science Cult

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


Did you get sick or injured?


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

What was the best thing you bought?

Pf changs

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

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


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

Barkbox Dogs

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


What song will always remind you of last year?

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


What do you wish you would have done more of?


My husband! 🤪😂😈

What do you wish you would have done less of?

Tears in Heaven

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


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

Image result for bob's burgers oh my god gif

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

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

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

Image result for recipes for repair

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

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

09082018 Mom's Birthday 01

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

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

09072018 Chloe's 17th birthday 01
Chloë's birthday (9/7) is the day before mine (9/8), so we usually celebrate together by running around collecting all the billions of birthday freebies out there. Here are some from this year:

Birthday Freebies Collage

[click to embiggerate]

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


What political or social issue stirred you the most?

Image result for environmentalism

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

Image result for Global Citizen

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


Who was the most interesting new person you met?

Image result for Dr. Alejandro Homaechevarria

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


What changed at your job?

Pear Flambé Pint Single $22.50 A

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


What changed in your home?

Coop Life 25 Sept 2018 (2)

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


Describe how a relationship changed.

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


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


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


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

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How have people around you changed?

December 2018 Selfie Collage

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


What have you learned throughout the year?

T Rex Cmas Tree

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


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

Warm weather:


Something cool, comfortable, and hopefully, cute!

Cool Weather:

Profile Pic Ground Control
Anything remotely warm, comfortable, and hopefully cute! ;)


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

EWW Etsy Collage

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


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

Well... Before:


And now:

Week 48 of 52 Selfie

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


What are your hopes and dreams for the new year?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

See y'all after the happy merry!


Sunday Stealing: Art History Meme

Welcome back to Sunday Stealing! Link up here if you want to play along today!


Classical: If you were an Olympian god, what would you be known for?

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I would absolutely be the goddess of the sea!

Byzantine: Do you prefer gold or silver accessories?

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I actually much prefer copper jewelry, but since it's rarely an option, I go for silver. I'm not into gold, but my wedding & engagement rings, and the "baby" necklace I'm wearing from my mother-in-law, are gold. I don't care; I combine my metals.

Medieval: Are you religious?

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I don't consider myself to be religious. I am spiritual.

Gothic: What is your favorite historic building?

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La Sagrada Familia, the giant work-in-progress cathedral in Barcelona. Hubs and I visited it in person in 2008, when we went to Spain on our cruise. It was mentioned on TV the other day, and my developmentally-delayed 15yo son saw it with me. I was so impressed when he knew everything about it. Love when that happens!

Renaissance: Have you ever had a time in your life when you felt enlightened or changed?

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Many times. The first time I truly realized it happening was when I was about to turn 21 and read Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. My best friend Lisa gave it to me for a college graduation present, but I had put off reading it for a few months for fear of boredom. It was not boring at all. I actually had a breakdown from it changing me mentally so thoroughly, and I ran away from home for a fortnight to collect myself. I keep meaning to read it again, now that it's 20 years later, but I have yet to do so.

Baroque: Do you enjoy the finer things in life?

110317 Chandlers Food Collage

Our food from the Boise Chandler's in late 2017

110317 Chandlers Drinks Collage

Our Chandler's drinks

Oh, absolutely. I am definitely a fancy dinner and high-end hotel kind of girl. I mean, I can get by just fine with a cheap motel and Taco Bell (ugh) if I have to, but I feel much more comfortable living the high life. I grew up fairly well-off; maybe that's why? We can't always afford such a life, because kids, but that is part of why I mystery shop. It affords me the opportunity, and I get reimbursed. Win-win!

Rococo: Is your bedroom full of trinkets and pictures? If so, which pictures adorn your walls?

IMG_5471 (1)

It's really just full of boxes at the moment, since we still have a ton of unpacking to do. My health has made that low on the list of priorities at the moment. I'll have some pictures, including a koi print my sister-in-law gave me, and my shot glass collection, for starters. For now, though, here is a shot of some pretty paper lucky stars I made for a friend once.

Neoclassicism: If something came back into fashion, what do you hope it would be?

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I'm not really into fashion. At all. I'm into comfort. So, I don't care much, but I think I'd like one of these sumo suits.

Romanticism: Do you often see things in a positive light?

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I try to do this. Sometimes I need a little help, and sometimes I just need a little time and separation from an issue.

Pre-Raphaelite: Which book would you like to see turned into a film?

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Anything by Jodi Picoult that hasn't already been made into one. Her books are the best!

Impressionism: Do you look for details or take everything in at once?

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A little bit of both. I think I first take in the whole deal, and then when I have time to soak it in, I absorb as many details as possible.

Art Nouveau: When were you last at the theater?

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I think it was when I took my two daughters to see Pitch Perfect 3. We all love the PP franchise. Especially Fat Amy; she makes me laugh my guts out!

Surrealism: Why does the porcupine think it's a duck?

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It doesn't. You're thinking of the platypus.

Pop Art: Do you enjoy pop culture?

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I'm pretty mainstream in a lot of ways, I admit. But I'm alternative in many other regards, so... it evens out.

Contemporary: What did you do today?

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I woke up early. Took a nap. Woke up again hours later. Almost immediately took another nap. (Welcome to my life). Got myself up just in time to take the family to dinner for a work assignment. Met a couple friends afterward. Came home to sit here and blog memes while amping up the intensity of my TENS machine on my knees and ankles. I need another one to handle back, neck, and wrists at the same time. I call this my "electroshock therapy." Freaks people out.


Thanks for stopping by!


Saturday 9: Heartbreak Hotel

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

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


Saturday 9: Heartbreak Hotel (1956) 

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

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

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

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

5) When Elvis was 11, his parents bought him a guitar. He had asked for a rifle, but his mama convinced him a guitar was a better idea. Tell us about a time one of your parents was right about something. 
When I was three or four, my mom, sister and I were grocery shopping. I spotted what looked like a bunch of spilled sugar on one aisle floor, and I've always had a big sweet tooth. I got away from my mom and found that aisle, and I actually went and ate some off the floor before Mom found me! She told me it was laundry detergent, and I shouldn't eat that.
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Turns out she was right...
6) Not long before "Heartbreak Hotel" was recorded, Elvis' father recommended he give up the guitar and become a truck driver. Tell us about a time one of your parents was wrong about something.
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Oh, my dad is always trying to talk me into not using modern medicine and coming back into the Christian Science fold again. Yeah, that's not happening.
7) There are many stories about Elvis' manager, Col. Tom Parker. One anecdote, about his career before Elvis, has the Colonel painting sparrows yellow so he could sell them as canaries. Have you ever been ripped off?
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When I was in college, I was headed from the main U-Miami campus, where I lived, to class at the marine science campus. My ratchet car broke down on the Rickenbacker Causeway, and I was stranded. My best friend Lisa was actually down from New York during her Spring Break on a visit, so thankfully I wasn't alone. A man with a toddler was walking along the causeway, and he said he could fix it but needed to get some parts or something first (I think it was the spark plugs). We gave him all the cash we had on us to go get those parts. To a complete stranger. In Miami. SO STUPID!!! Of course, he never came back.

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

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

Sunday Stealing: The Simple Life

Welcome back, my loves! I'm sooo sleepy today for some reason, so I'm going to get right into things. Link up >here< if you're playing along this weekend!


What are five things you would like to do more?
In no particular order, my answers are:
1. Image result for knit
Knit. I haven't been doing enough of that at all lately.
2. Image result for make love
Spend passionate time with my husband. Always want more of that! ;)
3. Image result for exploring the outdoors
Spend LOTS more time exploring our newfound outside world.
4. Image result for ganesh
Exploring my spiritual side and learning more about other religions.
5. Image result for traveling the world
Travel the world.
What is your quote to live by?
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I have several, but this is by far my favourite.

What was the best thing that happened this week?
I had a lovely, romantic dinner at our local Ruth's Chris Steakhouse with Hubs for the 17th anniversary of our meeting. Not our wedding anniversary, which is upcoming in January... but we had a fantastic time!

What is something you are stressed about?
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Our finances. Always with the $%^&* finances!!! >:(

What book has influenced your life?
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I read the book I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb in college or grad school, and I will never forget it. In fact, I think about parts of it quite often.
Also, honorable mentions to: 
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The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy, which I read in high school, and:
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Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, which my BFF Lisa gave me for a college graduation present and which had a profound impact on my psyche.

Share a childhood memory:
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For several years, when I was very young, like 3-4-5 years old, I would be sent to my bed for bedtime but could not sleep, because I kept hallucinating the walls were collapsing in on me, that my bed was a dangerous place and was also going to collapse on me, and that I was basically unsafe in bed, in my room, in my house. I would scream and sob and run to my mother's bedside. She would try to get me into bed with her to cuddle, but I adamantly refused to touch their bed either. My father tried the same, but I wouldn't even go near him. Eventually, it always ended in my mother taking me out to the center of our living room, away from any walls, and sitting on the floor in her lap, rocking me and singing softly to me to comfort her.  I have no idea what precipitated all of this, but I start with a new therapist in a couple weeks and aim to explore it further.
What fictional character would you most like to be?
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Alice in Wonderland, for I, too, like to think of impossible things..!

What is something you are proud of?
Despite our sometimes-tempestuous union, I'm proud of our 17 years of togetherness and the young family we have forged together! <3

What was the last thing you celebrated?
Same thing. Seventeen years of Team Odette! ;)

What are weird things you like?
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I have tons of quirks. Our whole family does. I don't even know where to start. Two things: I like it when the doggos lick my feet, and I like when Sophia, my 12yo daughter, and I sing shrilly to Sam Smith songs...
What is your favorite song to sing?
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If I ever have the nuts to get drunk and do karaoke, I will belt out "What's Up?" by 4 Non Blondes! #BucketList

Name three things you do well.
1. Image result for making plans
I'm great at making plans. I hate when they fall through!
2. Image result for being spontaneous
Being optimistic. Despite lots of incredibly horrible things happening in life, I always believe something good is around the corner.
3.Image result for being spontaneous is amazing
Being spontaneous! I know all these things seem a little mutually exclusive, but that's how I roll!

What are your priorities in life?
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1. Family
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2. Travel - I want to see everywhere there is to see!!
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3. This: Happiness, contentment, and inner peace.

What is something that scares you?
Death of a child at any age. Missing my son.                                                                                                                                                                                 More
Losing another child. The first one was an epic pain. I could not live through it again.

Best book you read this year?
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I'm still reading it, but Recipes for Repair is a great book for promoting health and healing through dietary changes.
Have a wonderful weekend, y'all!

Sunday Stealing: The Beginning Of Bev Meme

Morning everyone! It's 4:40 AM here in Boise, Idaho! Thought I'd get started on this meme so you all can enjoy some sillies from me for the day. Thanks to Bev Sykes for carrying on Sunday Stealing for all of us thieves! Let's get started, shall we? Link up here if you're playing along today!


Sunday Stealing: The Put Your Questions in the Box Questions

1. Where were you three hours ago?

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A funny (not so funny-haha as much as funny-disconcertingly-weird) thing happens to me now that I'm not what you'd call, uh, "well." I get tired and HAVE to sleep right then. Yesterday, Saturday, I decided to bake chocolate chip cookies for the family, despite the 104-degree heat. Halfway through baking, I called my husband to take over the cookies, because that sleepiness struck. It was probably about 6 or 7 PM. I just woke up around 3 AM. So to answer your question, I was sleeping, but it was an odd sort of crash-on-the-couch kind of sleep!

2. Make a confession.

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I have had my right nostril pierced for 20 years now. However, I've never been happy with it and am now thinking I'd rather have my septum pierced. I've also been tossing around the idea of a tattoo of my kids' names or initials or something for about 15 years. The truth is, besides my general indecisiveness and those being rather permanent decisions, I don't want to upset my now 75-year-old father. I'll be 41 in September, and I'm holding off on piercings and tattoos so I don't upset my dad. Lame, right? :\

3. Bad habits?

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I have OCD habits, which aren't bad so much as annoying - even to me! The one I really notice the most is getting in and out of the car to drive. I have to turn the lights on (if it's remotely dark out) and off, on and off, and on; same thing with setting and undoing the parking brake; sometimes I turn the car on and off several times, etc. I can't just get in and start driving. I keep thinking to myself, "Why did I do that? Why do I do this?" when it's happening, and yet I have no power to stop it. P.S. Trust me, I have plenty of bad habits, too...

4. Favorite color?

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I love every color of the rainbow, equally. I love all the colors! I say I live In Living Color, right out loud, bold and bright and (sometimes not) beautiful!

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Okay, okay, if I have to pick an absolute favorite color, it's the shade of the middle depths of the sea. Kind of like this one, above, which is really more than one. See? It's hard to pin down. Like me.

5. Can you drive?

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Not without doing all the OCD things mentioned above! ;) When I try to be, I'm a pretty good driver, I'd say. My youngest daughter Sophia, now 12, recently told me, "Mom, you drive better than Dad, but he definitely parks better than you." It's true. I suck at parking.

6. 3 pet peeves.

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a. Speaking of driving, and I've mentioned this one here a thousand times, it's those people who take half a lifetime to make their right turn in front of me. I should not have to come to a full stop so you can get your ass car around the corner. Sheesh, it makes my blood pressure rise just thinking about it! ;)

b. My oldest daughter Chloë, who will be 16 in September, remembers her dreams every morning when she wakes up. And like me, she is not a succinct person. And like me, she makes it rather apparent she needs to be heard. So, I'm sorry Chloë, but this peeve is having to listen to your nutty dreams every morning - or anyone else's!

c. Having to go to the bathroom... five seconds after I've washed my hands and left the bathroom. I drink gallons and gallons of water or whatever drink every single day. I have a huge bladder - World Record material, I'm thinking - but I still have to pee constantly because it's always full. I'd like a One and Done for once, please!

7. Last person you hugged.

The last person I hugged was this schmuckatello, Hubs, who goes along with everything I ask him to do when the camera is out. LOL... I guess that makes him not such a schmuck after all. He was up in the middle of the night, too, with a horrible headache. :(

8. Something you miss.

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It's kind of silly, but the thing I miss most about living in Miami is having the ability to hop on a cheap Caribbean cruise for three or four days, without having really to pay a ton of money or plan for months in advance. You know how many times we did that in the four years we lived there, though? Zero times infinity! :P

9. What song is stuck in your head at the moment?

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I have kind of a love/hate relationship with Miley Cyrus and her music, and her latest song "Malibu" doesn't change that. It just played on radio I'm streaming here on Rob's laptop, so now it'll be stuck in my head for two days. Awesome.

10. Favorite quote.

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Lately I find myself quoting everything Hubs says, whether to myself, to him, or to the kids. My favorite one seems to be, whenever something goes horribly wrong, "Welp, nothing we can do about it now!" Kind of eases the pain of whatever happened in a "yeah, that's true" way! (He's been saying that for nearly our entire marriage after an argument we had where once again I wanted him to do something he hadn't done. Haha!)

11. Favorite band.

LA Trip with Chloe 012

Aw c'mon, man! I told you I'm awful at picking favorites with the 'colors' question. I rather prefer finding random buskers on the Santa Monica Pier or whatever corner, wherever I am, who have more talent in their left pinky finger than the audio-corrected musicians on the radio who might sound like shit crap in person.

12. Something you're excited for.

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I'm hoping to have a Harry Potter movie marathon-party for my eldest's 16th birthday in September, with some also HP-obsessed friends. She'll be so excited if it works out.

13. Favorite movie.

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This one I can do: Dirty Dancing or Grease. They're tied for fave flicks.

14. What type of phone do you have?

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Right now, I have a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. I hate the Edge-feature of it, but I looooove the rest of it. We used to have iPhones; we upgraded to something better in line with what we wanted in a smartphone.

15. Favorite animal.

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Land: the African elephant

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Sea: the Mako shark

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Air: (right now it's) the Bald Eagle


Well, it's 6:00 AM now (yes, I took forever to write this post), so I guess I'd better start my day. Which consists of nothing much besides going to church at 11 AM, but I suppose that's enough.


Sunday Stealing: The Mommy Time Meme

Sunday Stealing

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

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


Cheers to all of us thieves!

Sunday Stealing: The Money Time Questions

1. What are five passions that you have?

a.  EarthDayEve052a

These three knuckleheads. <3

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

This chump of mine. <3

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

d.  SelfiewithSophieMother Earth (and Science #FTW!)

e.  Pea falafel etc

Experimenting with food! I love to cook!

2. List up to ten random facts about yourself.

a.  Profile

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


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


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


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


 Image result for lyme disease 2017 map

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


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


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


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


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


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

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

All right, well:

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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



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


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


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

5. What is a major strength that you have?

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

6. What is a major weakness that you have?

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

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

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Huge pile of shit (then)


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Unicorn farts... Capisce?

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

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

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



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


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


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


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


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Being kind


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


That was a long one, but fun!

Thanks for stopping by!


Saturday 9: I Don't Know How To Love Him

I missed last week's entry; did you miss me? Link up here if you're playing along this weekend!

Saturday 9: I Don't Know How to Love Him (1971)

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


1) This song is from Jesus Christ, Superstar. Though now a beloved classic, the play was controversial when it first premiered. Can you think of something else that originally made people uncomfortable, but went on to be accepted?

Yeah, half the shit I say in a conversation. ;)

2) Jesus Christ, Superstar was originally developed as a "concept album," a collection of songs written to sequentially tell the story of The Crucifixion and Resurrection. Do you remember the first album you bought? Did you download it, listen to it on a CD player, your cassette deck, or record player?

I'm pretty sure the first cassette album I bought was Milli Vanilli's All or Nothing tape. I have no shame; I still love "Blame it on the Rain."

3) When the album's songs were performed live in concert at the Pennsylvania Civic Arena, producers decided to stage it as a play and the rest, as they say, is history. Tell us about a really good idea you've had recently.

This Spring, I have decided to breathe new life into our apartment by using the Japanese Konmari approach to organization and decluttering. We moved here exactly three years ago from two larger houses in Virginia, both with a larger footprint than this teensy space, so we still have a LOT of extra stuff. Anyway, when I got to the "bags and purses" category on the Konmari checklist, I cleaned out all my unused purses and found a gift card that still had $20 on it. Woohoo!

4) Jesus Christ, Superstar is a truly international phenomenon. During a revival tour that began in 2011, it's been a hit with audiences in the United States, Canada, Britain, Ireland, Brazil, Hungary, India, New Zealand, Italy, France, Mexico, Chile, Bulgaria, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Iceland, Russia, Poland, Czech Republic, Greece, Australia, The Philippines, South Africa, Panama, Colombia, Croatia, Bolivia, The Netherlands and Portugal. Besides the United States, which of those countries have you visited?

Of those countries, I have been to: Canada, Italy, France, Mexico, Greece, Panama, and Croatia. You don't normally think of Croatia as a beautiful Mediterranean destination, but I can tell you that Dubrovnik is absolutely beautiful.

5) Peeps are big sellers every Easter. Would you rather have yellow chicks or pink bunnies?

And that is my vote. Ditch the Peeps, and hand me some Cadbury Mini Eggs, please!

6) Jelly beans are also popular this time of year. One theory says they were introduced in Boston during the 19th century. What else comes to mind when you think of Boston?

Oh gosh. I think of the Boston Marathon attacks, baked beans, the Mother Church of Christian Science (which is the religious sect in which I grew up), the Tea Party, visiting there with my mother when I was very small...

7) We've been talking a lot about sweets this morning. The only holiday that generates more candy sales is Halloween. When do you eat more candy: Easter or Halloween?

I try not to eat too much candy on either occasion, but I still do. I bet I eat more on Easter, because of the afore-mentioned Mini Eggs. YUM!

8) Easter lilies will adorn many churches this Sunday. What's your favorite flower?

Another lily: the Tiger Lily is my favorite flower. So much so, that Rob and I named our first purebred German Shepherd Dog after them. She was a good pup.

9) Easter is considered the season of rebirth. What makes you feel refreshed or rejuvenated?

A good shower, followed by diffusing my Young Living Peppermint essential oil throughout the house. Sometimes, I massage some into my forehead, neck, and wrists, too - it really wakes me up!


Thanks for visiting!


Sunday Stealing: Christmas Q&A

Link up here if you're stealing on Christmas this weekend! 

Christmas Questions Meme

{From the archives...}

1. Have you been naughty or nice this year?

I guess it would depend on whom you ask!

2. What do you want most for Christmas?

Call me cheesy if you want to, but what I really want is for my family to be happy, my house to be clean (har har, that'll never happen while I live with these folks), and Peace on Earth.

3. What is your favorite Christmas movie?

Miracle on 34th Street; I haven't seen it in years! I wonder if it's on Netflix?

4. How many Christmas cards do you normally send out?

I sent out almost a hundred this year. It's one of my favorite things about the holiday preparation. I still have some to send; would you like one?

5. Do you still get a stocking?


That's all 12 of ours this year, hanging on the wall around our Christmas "tree." Yes, we each get one (including our angel son, Robby, whose white one on the bottom left I crocheted the year he died, and also including our six pets)! I yearn for the day when we own our own decent-sized house once again and can put up a true tree with stockings not, you know, tacked to a wall.

6. What is your favorite Christmas song?

"The First Noël," because my mom sang it beautifully, and that's a wonderful memory I have of her.

Following that, "Gloria in Excelsis Deo," because my grandfather and mother did a gorgeous duet of it around the piano annually.

Good times. Good times. *sniffle*

7. What is your favorite Christmas tv special?

Charlie Brown Christmas, because its message is heartwarming. ♥ 

8. What is your favorite way to wrap gifts?

Theoretically, I would love to use entirely natural and around-the-house found objects to wrap all the presents. In practice, it never works out that way, and I invariably rely heavily on store-bought paper. This year, since I have been so weak, Chloë has taken over the vast majority of the present-wrapping duties - even her own. Kinda sucks, and it breaks my heart not to do it a little bit, but it is what it is.

9. What do you look forward to most at Christmas?

Joy. Simple, simple joy.

10. What did you do for Christmas this year?

Well, it's ongoing. We do Advent all month long. I haven't posted too much about that, because of the aforementioned energy issues, but I have a little bit. We're most looking forward to the candlelight Christmas Eve service at church. It's a favorite.

11. Who do you want to kiss under the mistletoe?


I'll take this cutie every day of the week! #LoveMyHubs

12. What kind of Christmas tree do you have?

One day, when I can have a themed tree in every room, I'll have a turquoise-and-pink one like this beauty, here. In the meantime, it's the wall tree we have above. Thank you, Pinterest!

13. Did you take part in a Secret Santa?

Not in the past few years. Maybe I'll just have to organize one myself, for next year! I've never done that...

14. Did you go to any Christmas parties?


Yep. We went to the party at my daughter Sophia's horse stables this year. It was super-fun. I didn't faint this time, like I did at the Halloween party, so much less embarrassing. A good time was had by all, I think!

15. How early do you wake up on Christmas morning?

Whenever. We roll with the flow 'round here when it comes to waking up, y'know?

Happy holidays, Merry Christmas, Yule, Festivus, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and all the rest! Enjoy!


Saturday 9: Beyond The Sea

Link up here if you're playing along today!

Saturday 9: Beyond the Sea (1959)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.
1) This song mentions golden sands. When do you think you'll next visit the beach?
We were there on Monday, at the little laguna beach near our home. The kids wanted to swim after we did a photo shoot for our 2015 Christmas cards, but the beach was closed. My kids dubbed the place, Homestead Bayfront Park, "Remora Beach" after our first visit, when a remora (aka "shark sucker") visited me for quite a while. Anyway, I don't know when we'll go again, but probably once or twice before the year ends.

2) Shortly after "Beyond the Sea" hit the charts, Bobby Darin met and married movie sweetheart Sandra Dee. Her squeaky-clean image is spoofed in the song, "Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee," from Grease. Can you name another song from Grease?
Ermagerd, you're talking about one of my favorite films! I can name them all! My favorite one is when Olivia Newton-John sings "Hopelessly Devoted to You." I've sung that song after many a heartache!
3) Years earlier, Bobby had an ill-fated romance with singer Connie Francis. According to Ms. Francis, Darin wanted to marry her, but her father forbade it. Have you ever had a relationship that your parents disapproved of?
Pffft. All but the first one and the last one, really! I'm completely colorblind when I date, but my WASP father is most decidedly not. And vocal about it. Ugh. It damn near annoys the crap out of me that he "approves" of my marriage.

4) Bobby was a Renaissance man: Grammy-winning singer, Oscar-nominated actor, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and an excellent chess player. Are you good at chess?
It's on my Bucket List to learn, because I have never done so. I have to soon, though, because my 7-year-old nephew, Harrison, challenged me to a chess game the next time I'm in Missouri to see him!

5) A car buff, he drove a 1960 custom car that was so unique and spectacular, it's now in a Detroit museum. The bright red paint was mixed with ground diamonds to ensure that it sparkled in the sun. Each of the four bucket seats had its own AC/heat control and radio speaker. The steering wheel was slightly squared for easier handling. What features would your dream car have?
I'll take a red Mazda Miata convertible, please. Done.
6) Beyond the Sea is also the name of the 2004 screen biography in which Kevin Spacey played Bobby Darin. Who would you choose to play you in the story of your life?
Right now, I'd pick Jennifer Lawrence, at least for my younger adult years. She's stunningly beautiful (har har, like I am), and she emotes perfectly. I'm very emotive, y'all.

7) When he was just 8 years old, Bobby Darin was stricken with rheumatic fever, and the disease left him with a dangerously weakened heart. Did you spend much time in the hospital when you were a kid?
Not a day after my birth. I probably should have, but I was raised as a Christian Scientist. No doctors. 

8) In 1959, when "Beyond the Sea" was popular, Alaska became our 49th state. What comes to mind when you think of Alaska?
Cold. Beautiful scenery, with the icebergs charging out of crystal waters. Land of the Midnight Sun.
9) In 1959, Conair introduced the first hair dryer developed for home use. Is there a hair dryer in your bathroom right now?
There should be, but Sophia, my ten-year-old daughter who inspired our family phrase for those household occurrences which might otherwise seam inexplicable "Because Sophie," probably never put it back after using it for an art project...
And thus we close. Thanks for the visit!

Sunday Stealing: If You Could Meme


Link up here if you're playing along today!

From Sweet Memes, our friend CAT!:


Travel anywhere, where would it be? 

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

 Meet anyone, who would it be? 

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

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

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

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

 Be anyone for a day, who would it be? 

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

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

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

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

 Change one thing about your life what would it be? 

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

 Have any superpower what would it be? 

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

 Be any animal for a day which would you be? 

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

 Date anyone who would it be? 

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

 Change one thing about the world what would it be? 

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

 Live in any fictional universe which would you choose? 

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

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

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

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

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

 Change one of your personality traits which would you choose? 

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

 Be talented at anything instantly what would you choose? 

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

 Forget one event in your life which would you choose? 

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

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

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

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

I wouldn't change a thing.

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

 I'd choose to be happy the way I am.

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

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

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

Come on, now.

 Be any height, which would you choose?  

I'm happy at 5'2".

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

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

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

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

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


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

Thanks for stopping by!


Redemption Sunday

About 18 years ago, in 1996 I suppose, my friend Beth Degler invited me to go to church with her.

I was a recovering Christian Scientist at the time, still reeling from having read C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity and ultimately leaving the church in which I was raised. Beth asked me a half-dozen times before I finally agreed to go with her.

{Side note: Beth was my T.A. for Chemical Oceanography, and she was also the caretaker for Marc, the quadriplegic man who I ended up taking over from her and who I'm still friends with to this day. Marc and I stopped being friends with Beth after she got really strange, but he's still like a big brother to me, and I continued going to the church she'd introduced to me. Later, Beth died in a car crash, which is a sad way to end this side note, but there you go.}

The church I found myself attending was the Miami Vineyard Church, and they were a small group of people who met in a school cafetorium. 

Fast-forward through my leaving Miami to move to Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida, for my Ph.D. work, during which time I hopped around to various churches before finding myself at "home" in Pinellas Community Church...

... continue past my marrying Rob and moving to Panama City Beach, where we found out we were going to have Baby Girl Chloë not much later, and decided to go to a financial advisor who invited us to his Methodist church, which we loved...

... onward through our brief 4-month life in Guam, while I carried twins Robby and Jack, and during which time I don't remember if we ever got to go to a church throughout that period of turmoil...

... and sprint past our ten years in Virginia Beach, Virginia, where we first went to the Vineyard Community Church on Easter Sunday, the day we brought Jacky home from the NICU. I'll never forget showing up, having just lost one of my identical twin sons a month earlier, and being seated behind a couple carrying matching pink carseats with matching pink-clad baby girls...


To say I have attended "a few" churches would not be an understatement.

We moved back here to Miami almost exactly a year ago; we're just shy of a couple of weeks now. In the intervening time, I'm unhappy to admit, the only time we went to any kind of church service was one night when we were seeking desperate help from a food pantry and they invited us to come out to their block party. They gave us all kinds of food, including a giant frozen turkey, and a backpack full of school supplies for all three of our children. We vowed to go back.

And yet, we never did. I have no idea why. Lack of gratitude certainly wasn't the reason. One very real reason may be that we just have had our hands full with Rob's prolonged illness this past year, though that isn't a very good one. Another reason is that because of that illness, and all the many, many hospital runs that it has involved, the kids' and our sleep schedules are all screwy. Lately it has gotten even worse. So no one is awake at the right time, and I'll be darned if all three kids are awake at the same time as I am, which makes doing school SO complicated...! But, I digress.

So Friday night and all day Saturday, into early Sunday morning, I felt myself on the Depressive end of this wonderful (not) Bipolar Disorder. I hate that part. The mania, I don't mind; I welcome it. I get stuff done when I'm manic! But depression is about as awesome as you'd think. 

And I was sinking. Deeper, lower, quickly, into that hole.

Sunday morning, it was pretty abysmal inside my head, and I had one clear, motivating thought: GET TO CHURCH.

I decided to look up my old church online and see when and where they were having services. And at the appointed time of 10 AM, I was darkening their doorstep with no clear idea of what I expected to get out of the service.

Eighteen years later, a lot had changed: no longer in a school cafetorium, the church now had its own slick and polished sanctuary with a bold, beautiful sign out front, a parking lot full of cars watched over by a police officer, and a lobby full of people crowding around the free coffee and mountain of doughnuts. The service, once very shabby-chic (for lack of a better term popping forth into my mind), was now also slick and polished, from the pastor's delivery to the audio-visual accompaniments. The worship team, slick and polished. The décor, slick and polished. The pace of things... you get the picture.

One thing that had not changed was the pastor. Kevin Fischer was still The Guy up there, and he had always been an amazing deliverer of The Word. When I heard the topic, part 5 in a series called, "It's Time" regarding their upcoming move to yet another new, bigger location and the funds that they would need to accomplish that, well... I truly thought I'd probably lose interest and get nothing out of the service. I figured, well, that's okay, I'll just get my feet wet and come back strong and ready to go next weekend.


I went up to Pastor Fish, as he was called back in '96 and '97 at least, before the service to re-introduce myself to him and tell him how I'd come to his church. Of course, I knew he wouldn't recognize or remember me, though he did recall Beth, but he was interested in my story nonetheless. He was smiling and friendly, and he made my tense self feel welcome and at ease.

During the message, Pastor Fish asked those of us who had been there during the cafetorium days to stand up and be recognized. So, reluctantly, shyly, I stood. People who had never seen me before that day but knew each other well were visibly surprised when I did, I could tell, and several came up to meet me after the service.

At some point, and I can't even recall exactly what moment, something deep in my heart changed. In a service ostensibly about building a new church home and fundraising, I heard the deeper message that I was meant to hear: a seed was planted in me. I had been harboring some bad feelings about myself, and I felt them lifted along with the overwhelming knowledge that God forgave me. Forgiveness is a powerful thing; I was hurt and angry, and I, in turn, was able to forgive the cause of that.

I went up to Pastor Kevin after the service, and he smiled in newfound recognition of me. He was talking to another chap when I appeared, and he happily introduced me and told of my background with the Miami Vineyard. I told him of the uplifting feeling that overcame me during the service, and I shared that I was now "HOME." And then I cried. Just a little, but it's important, since my heavily-medicated state often disallows for such tears.

I told the pastor that not only did I feel like I had come home, but I wanted to get involved when they moved to the new church home in a few weeks. I didn't know how, but I told him to use me however he needed me. I wanted to serve. And, though our finances are nothing to be bragging about, I put in a meager offering with a pledge to contribute more to their building fund over the next two years. It's not a ton, not even a full tithe, but it felt right. I feel good about it.

I left church on Sunday feeling brand-new. I felt forgiven, I felt redeemed, I felt... happy. I have a great life here, I have a wonderful husband and amazing children, and I am blessed beyond my wildest dreams. I'm thankful. I'm so thankful.

Thanks for stopping by; have a great day!


The Reluctant Christian

[This blahg is my platform. Understand that this is MY space to express MY views, and I am exercising that right and privilege right now. If you want to disagree with me, feel free to do so, but do it in a respectful, intelligent manner. If you can't, please save your comments for another time, another place.]

* * * 

First, let me say this: I am Christian. I have always been Christian, and I will always be Christian.  Despite the fact that I have been through some pretty tough stuff over the course of my life, my faith in God and acceptance of Jesus the Christ as my Lord and Savior have never wavered.

Now, the title of this post is something of a misnomer. I'm not a reluctant Christian, truth be told. I will never deny my faith. Doing so would be wrong, and I hate being misunderstood.

What I am reluctant about, now and not infrequently, is associating myself with Christians who represent Christiandom so differently from the way I choose to do it. It is that reluctance that compels me to write what I am going to state here.

* * *

Second, I hate it when people say "Merry Christmas" in a negative manner, in a way that is meant to cause offense to those who they are intentionally trying to offend.

What? Huh?

Let me explain.

I don't have a problem saying "Merry Christmas," and I will say it on Christmas Day to anyone and everyone except those who I am sure do not celebrate that holy day.

However, I will not say it on other days, choosing instead to use the more lovingly inclusive, "Happy Holidays!"

I have no problem being wished a merry Christmas, and I have no problem with anyone saying it. What I do take issue with is being so in-your-face about it. There are posts and people everywhere who say things to the effect of, "You won't get a 'Happy Holidays' out of me! It's going to be 'Merry Christmas' for all, by gummit!"

Why? Why do we do this? Are we lacking sense? I think we must be, as Christians, to say and post such things, in light of the fact that one of the jobs we are commissioned to do is spread Christianity to those who do not know Jesus. 

I mean, really? It spews hatred and intolerance, it's exclusionary, and it serves no purpose other than to completely alienate those whom we are supposed to include. In short, such messages are counter-productive.

As an analogy, I will liken this "You'll take my 'Merry Christmas' and you'll LIKE it, too!" attitude to those who choose to spread the Word by preaching that if you don't accept Jesus as Lord, you're going to burn in Hell for all eternity. I'm not remarking on whether that is true because, honestly, I'm not God and I don't know His plans for anyone outside myself. What I am saying is, why not preach in a more positive, productive, promising way? Scare tactics do not work. I have never heard of anyone saying, "Holy shit, God sounds like a nightmare, so I better follow Him!"

No. It doesn't happen that way. Consider your methodology, fellow Christians. God is everlasting Life. He is Love. He is the supreme Soul, Spirit, Principle, Truth, and Mind. He is all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful, universal love.

To me, that's a much more compelling, endearing message than, "Believe in me or you will burn!" to those we should seek to convert.

* * *

Third, there is this whole Phil Robertson/Duck Dynasty scandal going on, with nearly the entirety of Facebook up in arms about the whole thing. Here, instead of on Facebook where I have decided not to post about it in light of this being Christmastime, I shall share my tuppence.

I have never watched this show. I haven't had the opportunity, because we haven't had cable service in years. I don't know the guy first-hand, second-hand, or any-hand. Nevertheless, I feel the need to contribute here to the discussion, in light of the theme of this post.

Here's a syllogism for you:

All sin is equal in the eyes of the Lord.

Not one of us without sin.

Therefore, all of us are equally sinful to God.

You get what I'm sayin'? Just in case, I'll explain it more fully:

If you're human, you sin. Period, point-blank, no-'bout-adoubt it, you are a sinner. It doesn't matter whether you snag a grape at the local market before paying for the bunch, or whether you have sexual intercourse with another consenting adult of your same sex. They are EQUAL. They are the same. One is not worse than the other. You may as well murder your fellow man, because guess what? Unless the Virgin Mary bore you over a couple thousand years ago, you are not blameless to the Lord. They are one and the same. [Note: I'm not saying you should consider killing people. Please don't do that.]

Now, you may be saying to yourself, okay, yes, that's true. So? He's entitled to say what he wants to say. Freedom of Speech and all, right?

The protection of free speech is a governmentally-regulated right. A&E is not the government. They are a privately held corporation. They therefore have rights, and they have exercised their rights, too. If you're going to be up-in-arms about Mr. Robertson's suspension, fine, but your raised hackles are puzzling to those of us who understand this.

{As long as I'm kvetching, I would like to say, too, that comparing homosexuality to bestiality is, well, stupid. Two consenting adults having sex is a completely different concept from what is essentially the rape of an animal outside our own species. If you don't get that, I am afraid I can't help you any further. Robertson also claims never to have seen or heard of the mistreatment of a black person in the South prior to the Civil Rights Movement, to which I can only say, "Really?!" Also, "Pfft."

* * *

Finally, I would like to close this post by saying that I include myself amongst the sinners. Please don't misunderstand that. Only when infinite love is felt and expressed can we push out the hatred in our hearts. Help, don't harm. Love, don't hate.

Happy holidays.


Sunday Stealing: The Who Are You Meme, Partes Tres Y Cuatro

Link up here if ye be thievin' this week with us!

Sunday Stealing: Who Are you?

Part 3: Past

34. What do you consider the most important event of your life so far?

My birth. Most of the rest of it probably never would have happened without that. ;P

35. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Getting dually accepted into both the B.S. and Ph.D. programs in marine science at UM at the age of 17 was pretty impressive.... to me, at least.

36. What is your greatest regret?

Not being a squeakier wheel; I still blame myself for my son's death for not being more insistent and persistent...

37. What is the most evil thing you have ever done?

I tried to poison my horribly abusive stepmother when I was about 13 or 14 by spraying some noxious Amway cleanser on her dinner plate one night; I also put water in her heart medication bottle one time. I can't believe I'm admitting this, and here of all places.

38. When was the time you were the most frightened?

When I was lying on the operating table during my twin c-section, sans husband, and neither boy was crying after their slice-and-dice delivery. I kept frantically begging for answers, and they just shushed me and repeated, "The doctors are with them now." It was terrifying. Truly awful.

39. What is your best memory?

Eloping. Running to the courthouse, laughing all the way, with my soon-to-be-husband, before they closed. Fun, fun times.

Part 4: Beliefs And Opinions

40. Are you basically optimistic or pessimistic?

I wear the rose-colored glasses, generally speaking.

41. What is your greatest fear?

Losing another child

42. What are your religious views?

I'm a non-denominational Protestant, if that's what you're getting at.

43. State a random opinion.

Fully able-bodied people who park in disabled parking spaces are assholes.

44. What are your views on sex?

That shit feels good.

45. Are you able to cook?

I do okay.

46. In your opinion, what is the most evil thing any human being could do?

Intentionally hurt a child, in any way, shape or form.

47. Do you believe in the existence of soul mates and/or true love?

Yep, sure do.

48. What do you believe makes a successful life?

Being happy and content

49. How honest are you about your thoughts and feelings?

Please, I'm an open book.

50. Do you have any biases or prejudices?

I am intolerant of intolerance.

51. Is there anything you absolutely refuse to do under any circumstances? Why do you refuse to do it?

Taste mustard, because EWWW!!

52. Who or what, if anything, would you die for (or otherwise go to extremes for)?

Anyone I married, gave birth to, and a humongous helping of other people.

That's it for this week. 'Til next time, friends...!


El Bautismo - The Baptism

If you missed it, the pictures from the kids' and my baptism are on this post. By request, here are the details of the big event:

First, I want to say that all four of us have always been Christian. As for me, I was raised as a Christian Scientist, so although I believe I was already baptised, I had never had a water baptism. (CS is not even remotely related to Scientology, by the by.) When I was 21, I read the book Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, which was given to me by my BFF, Dr. Lisa, and I had a major identity crisis and mental breakdown about who I was as a Christian. After a week's respite at my dad's house, I decided to leave Christian Science and become, simply, a non-denominational Christian. I remain so and have wrestled with the decision to get baptised by water and start taking Communion in the 15 years hence.

Then, you may remember, Team Odette went to my friend Saritah's and her kids' water baptism at their church, back in the Spring of this year. It was a powerful moment for us, but speaking for myself, I finally felt the calling of the Holy Spirit filling me, urging me to do the same. And so it was decided. We discussed baptism with the children, who we always believed should come to the decision to be so on their own and therefore did not baptise as babies (save our late son, Robby), and Chloë decided she would be baptised along with me.

Our church, the Vineyard, baptises at the YMCA in the colder months and at the Virginia Beach oceanfront in the warmth of Summer. Naturally, we wanted the bigger impact of the latter, so we waited. We missed each month's baptism until this past Sunday, when finally we were able to go to the class in the morning at church, and have all our questions and concerns answered, before meeting at the beach at 1400.

First, we had a worship session, with a man who brought a guitar, amp, and a nice, if somewhat too quiet over the waves, voice. In all our 9 years of attending the Vineyard, I'd never seen him before, which piqued my interest. Not only that, but he was the doppelgänger of my Ph.D. program lead scientist, Dr. Motta, so I had a hard time keeping my eyes off him throughout the singing. It was just surreal, the likeness. But anyway, I digress.

After worship, we all - 30 or so in number - got into a big circle near the water, and went around with each, um, baptee (?) introducing him- or herself and saying why they wanted to be baptised. I explained what I said above, while the children had different answers, of course. I can't remember exactly what they said, but Chloë said because she accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior, Jack said I have no clue what because the waves drowned out his little pipsqueak voice (aw), and Sophia said she wanted to be saved from God. I had translated this at church, when we did a similar rendition, as 7yo speak for "saved FROM her sins, BY God," so they didn't question her verbiage at the beach.

At last, it was time to start the water baptisms. They went in order of the sign-in sheet from class, and we were about halfway thru the pages. Finally, it was my turn. The class facilitator and another woman from the Prayer Team prayed over me, that I would receive the Holy Spirit, more stuff I remember but don't feel like typing out (pretty intuitive things if you've been through it, though), and that I was God's Princess. I liked that.

Then, I headed giddily for the water, where the facilitator's husband and Dr. Motta's twin were waiting to dunk me. The waves were high and the current strong, and I got knocked down a few times, needing their help to stand back up, before we got to the actual plunge. The same happened with all three kids nad just about everyone else! I'd never seen such big waves here in Virginia.

At last, after saying a few words themselves, I crossed my arms over my chest and plugged my nose, as we'd been shown, and they leaned me back, let the wave rush over me, and pulled me up. That was it! I was baptised - and thrilled to the gills over it!

Chloë Raine went next. She received her prayer and then, at the last moment, asked her daddy to go with her to help. He gladly went in, jeans and all, to help his baby girl be baptised. He handed me his iPhone, which we'd been using to capture the pictures of the event, but I messed up and didn't get any pictures of her dunking, darn it.

Jack River was up next. He had been the most reluctant Baptee, because of the big waves, but after receiving his prayer, he ran right toward the water happily, without Daddy, even though he had originally begged for Rob and me to take him in! I don't know whether he was called God's Prince; he refused to discuss the matter, as is typical for him.

Sophia Lorelei went last for Team Odette. She received her prayer and tore into the water to get baptised like a gang of kids who've just seen candy spilled from a piñata! Her baptism was a little troubled, as she tumbled and drank water and thought she'd be drowned. After it was over, she ran past me, calling her name, straight up the beach and hid in the sand dunes. I called her back, but she refused to come out. I waited, and when she still wouldn't come, I went up there to coax her out. She was frightened, poor thing, but later on relayed that she was happy she was baptised after all.

We watched the rest of the baptisms - including that of a paraplegic, which was intriguing to many of us as far as the logistics were concerned - and then that was it. As a group, we walked back up the beach to the boardwalk landing, took some group and individual pictures - which will no doubt end up in a future bulletin or PowerPoint presentation at church - and said our good-byes.

And just like that, it was over. It was wonderful, amazing, and powerful an episode in the life of me, and I hope for the children, too. I commented to Rob on the way back to Penelope, "I guess I start taking Communion now, too, huh?" and, I have to admit, I'm nervous about it! I don't know what to do, other than go up, get the stuff, and consume it, but I suppose there's not much more to do than that, eh?

That night, we talked about it at our weekly Family Meeting, and Rob and I congratulated and praised the kids for being baptised and choosing Christ to govern their lives. I need all the prayer I can get, myself, but for them, I will forever and always pray that their relationship with God grows and strengthens, wherever their lives may lead them.


Wordless Wednesday: Our Baptism!


Link up here if you're wordless - or not - today!


I was almost done with this post, all written up with lots of captioning, when my IE browser crashed. ZOMG, I hate when that happens!! So I'm just going to do the photos here, and if you'd like to hear the actual details behind them, leave me a comment here, or email me, whatevs, saying so. I'll write up a separate post if there's interest.}














What a great day for Team Odette!!!

Thanks for stopping by... ☺


Product Review: "What's In The Bible DVD"

I was selected for participation in this review and given the What's in the bible DVD as a member of The Homeschool Lounge Review Team. All thoughts and opinions are my own.



A little while back, we were given this DVD: Volume 1: In The Beginning / Genesis from the "What's in the Bible" series to review. It's taken us a while to watch the DVD because our machine broke, and then the laptop wouldn't read the disk properly. Argh! We finally had a chance to view the 60-minute DVD Monday night, after I figured out how to get it to play in the afore-mentioned laptop. At last!!


You may or may not be able to read that top-right corner, but it tells us that this series is from Phil Vischer, the creator of VeggieTales®, of which we are huge fans! Indeed, I recognized several voices from VT, so it was a little bit of familiarity embedded in something novel for us.

All three kids sat transfixed throughout the hour-long, two-part DVD, and they erupted into giggles many times in that time. Volume 1 covers the structure and purpose of "the world's most important book," along with who wrote it. Covered topics include Adam & Eve and Noah and the Great Flood, amongst others. A bonus short section,"Quacky's Questions," answers "What is kindness?" My children watched the entire DVD, and then we discussed it.

Jack, my 9-year-old son, was exhausted by the time it was over, so he (as is typical for him) claimed not to have enjoyed it or learned anything from it (though I know he did both) and went straight to bed when it was over. Well! That left the girls.

Sophia, seven, told me she learned that it's important to always try to be good and obey her mom and dad, and God, and not be bad. She learned what sins were, and she learned about Noah and the flood. She said she was glad that God promised not to flood the entire Earth again, and she also learned that God separated people and gave them different languages to speak so there would be less sinning in the world. (Hey, I'm just telling you what my baby said; take what you will from it.)

When asked if she learned anything additional, Chloë, 11, told me that she learned that the Bible is the most important book in the world. We've talked previously - earlier in the same day, even - about respecting The Good Book and not losing or mistreating it (or any other books, but especially this one), so it didn't surprise me that she had this to say.

Both of my daughters said they loved the DVD and thought it was really funny, especially when the characters spoke in silly voices. They were surprised to learn that we get to keep the DVD instead of "renting it back," as they say, and also that it was given to me for us to review. Chloë said, "I thought you bought it for us as a fun surprise! Can we get more of them?"


Indeed,  I think it's possible this will make a great set for Christmas, and I know they - and the like-minded amongst you out there - will be thrilled to receive it!

If you visit the site, you'll see there are some great **free** resources and activities to go along with the series, including coloring pages, Bible flashcards, a Study Guide, and more!  Let me know if you end up getting the set or any parts of it, and what you think, too!

Thanks to The Homeschool Lounge review team and the series for providing us with this excellent jumping-off point for discussing all things Biblical!


Saturday 9: Moves Like Jagger


Well, it is Sunday and I did miss this one, so I wasn't going to do it, but when I saw what album was covered, well, come on! Adam Levine...! So. the link is here, if you want to check it out. And let's begin:

1. Who makes the best moves in your life?

Well, it's my life, right, so that would have to be me. I make some pretty dumbass moves, too - don't get me wrong... but I've made some pretty awesome ones, too.

2. Tell us about a time where you had to be selfish with your time, and felt guilty about it (whether it was time taken from your children or a significant other).

Well, I "selfishly" take time for me every day, because I have to or I'd go COMPLETELY insane, and I'm already close. But I don't feel guilty for that. When I did feel guilty was when I was pregnant with the twins, and Chloe was only a year old... she had to play by herself a lot then and became pretty independent. And then again when I had Sophia, she nursed constantly, and I had to put the older ones on hold a lot. I felt bad about that, but we made due.

3. Do you feel that you can create more sex appeal or that it's just a given?

I do think it can be created, and also learned, when there is none. I don't think you're either born with it or you're not, and I do believe some people need to be taught! But definitely, it can be vamped up, right?

4. Do your religious beliefs really influence your behavior?

Yes, but perhaps not as much as they should...

5. Do you feel there are some things in a significant other that you can't change because of their sex?

Absolutely. Men and women are differently wired; it's a fact.

6. Do you see a younger, less secure person when you gaze in the mirror?

No, but after losing all that weight (over 200 lbs), I do still get surprised by what I see in the mirror. I expect to see a much fatter version of me and sometimes, even still, I forget!

7. If you have ever been pregnant, or have been with a woman who was, how did it affect your sex life?

We went from all the time to not at all. LOL Poor Hubs! We had our babies back-to-back-to-back, too, so he was... SOL. I have NO libido when I'm pregnant.

8. What would you like to work on to become a better person?

Ohmigosh. How much time do you have?? I'll leave the answer to work on during therapy, thanks.

9. When did you think that you understood the sacrifices that people in the military make on behalf of their country?

Probably not until I married my husband at 24. He had 8 years in the Navy at the time. He'll retire next year. In the past 12 years, I've learned what it means, for real.  Not just through my own family, but through my military family on the whole. It's pretty intense at times.


Saturday 9: Whatever Gets You Thru The Night


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

Saturday 9: Whatever Gets You Thru the Night

1. What helps you get through the night?

Since I'm often awake, pills, the Interwebs, yarn, my friend Mommy of Many if she's up... and loads of caffeine. :\

2. Do you ALWAYS keep an open mind?

No. I'm pretty intolerant of intolerance. And I loathe smokers who pollute my clean air and people who fly the Confederate flag (especially those who have, like, 10 of them on their beat-up pick-em-up trucks), so, no.

3. Who is the wisest person you know?

Mamacita, AKA my MIL, is pretty sage. I go to her for advice probably far too often. I drive her nuts, maybe.

4. Who is the strongest person you know?

Based on what people tell me, um, me. I think I'm weak, really, but having been through so much shit, and the fact that I'm still alive, well, maybe I'm wrong?

5. How would we tell by your behavior if you are having a bad day?

Oh, honey. You'll know it when you see it. There won't be any guessing.

6. Does your ego sometimes get in your way?

Sure, I suppose it does for everyone, sometimes. The thing that pisses me off the most is being considered "just" a woman, or "just" a stay-home mom. I'm a whole lot more than that, and I could have spent time collecting degrees and fancy little letters after my name, too, but instead I chose to be happy and have a little family. Not that I won't get those letters eventually, because I will, when it's time. ;)

7. Do you believe in Zen? If yes, can it be mastered?

I'm not the right person to answer this question. I'm not really 'up' on my Eastern religions, as far as all that is concerned. I guess my answers would be "maybe" and "sure, but not by me!"

8. Do you believe you could teach someone, like your child, to be competitive?

I think that's mostly innate, but like most things, it can be nurtured as well. A little healthy competition is a good thing at the right time, so why not?

9. Do you believe home is not a place but rather a state of mind?

I don't think they have to be mutually exclusive; it's both, I'd say.

I'm pretty ambivalent tonight, eh?

Have a great weekend, fogies!


Saturday 9: Crown Of Creation

The link is here, if you're a 9'er today!

Saturday 9: Crown of Creation

1. Do you understand a belief model based on creationism?

Understand, yes. I don't believe evolution and creationism are mutually exclusive. That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.

2. Is your house run more like a dictatorship or a democracy?

Neither one. It's somewhere in the middle. I don't think either one is the proper way to raise children. They should have a say on some things, but not equal footing with the parents. Nor should totalitarian rule be the name of the game. We do the best we can, what can I say?

3. Are you likely to forgive a transgression and give someone a second chance?

Most of the time. As long as they genuinely apologize, I'm pretty forgiving. Until that point, though, it takes an awful lot of work for me to let go of a grudge. And time.

4. Is religion a big part of your life?

There is a difference between religion and spirituality. I'm Christian, but my relationship with Christ is personal and private, and my walk with God is one I don't tend to share about often, because it's MINE alone.

5. Do you feel your job (or your spouse's if you work at home) is safe?

Well, he's in the U.S. Navy, so... ish? He hasn't deployed during our relationship, but there's always that chance. He's safer than many, if not most, in the military, and I'm thankful.

6. Do you believe in gay marriage? Why?

I support it. I think it's ridiculously absurd to dictate otherwise. Everyone should have the right to unify with the one they love and be given all the rights, privileges, and sucky parts thereof! ;)

7. Do you think the current U.S. war will lead to a more peaceful world?

Interesting concept, war leading to peace. I don't think there will ever be peace in the whole world at once. A sad fact of life, I guess.

8. Do you like people with swagger?

That don't impress me much, to quote Shania.

9. What kind of budget do you live on, is it tight or carefree?

It's tighter than tight. It's painful. We're working on it. One day, we'll be more carefree. Or not, whatever, we have each other and that's good enough for me.

Have a happy day!


Sunday Stealing: The Imaginary Meme


Link up here if you're playing along - I'm doing Parts I and II together since I missed last week. Enjoy!

Sunday Stealing: The Imaginary Meme, Part One

1. Have you ever peed your pants as an adult?

I've had four kids, including a set of twins, via c-section. You don't put that much pressure on your guts without a little weewee squeaking out now and then.

 2. Who do you have a celebrity crush on now?

I've gotta agree with Jennifer Love Hewitt and go with Adam Levine from Maroon 5.

3. Would you date someone you met online?
Would. Have. Married him...

4. Do you wear underwear always?
Nope. Most of the time, I do. Not at the moment, though!

5. Do you hate yourself at times?
*snort* I can't count how many times I've attempted suicide. You don't do that because you like yourself.

7. Do you like dirty movies?
I've seen a few in my day, but most just make me laugh.

8. Could you believe Josha Ledet was voted off Idol?
I don't give a flying Fig Newton.

9. When was the last time that you bought a car?
August 6, 2010. Now I'm trying to get rid of it. :\

10. Have you ever been camping?
Oodles of times as a kid, and twice as a Girl Scout troop leader. I liked it much better as a kid. Lots fewer rules!

11. How many times a day do you go on facebook?
Sometimes none. Sometimes I never leave, technically. It all depends. I took a long break recently and didn't really miss it all that much. Surprised even me.

12. What was the last movie you saw in a theater?
The Pirates! Band of Misfits, with my 10yo daughter, Chloë. I wasn't too impressed (sorry, Hugh, I still love you) and spent the entire movie with my iPhone on my chest, lighting up my knitting.

13. Have you ever worried that you'd cut off a limb?
This meme is kind of pissing me off. Oh, wait, no, I was already pissed off. <<breathes deeply>> I don't think that's the sort of thing you worry about until you do it, unless you work a dangerous job.

14. Where did you get your last email from?
Freecycle. I'm getting rid of lots of good stuff today, and it feels good to be trimming the fat!

15. Favorite website?
Mine. ;)

16. Are you down with ghetto?
There's a time and, obviously, a place for that, but I try not to show that side of myself in public places!

17. Will the world end in fire or ice?
I don't know. Yes?

18. Do you believe in the afterlife?
Yes. Yes, I do.

19. Would you be upset if Facebook stopped working?
I'd be more surprised than upset, at this point in the game.

20. How did you start your blog?
I opened a Typepad account and started typing. That's pretty much how it goes, isn't it?
21. Have you felt that life is like being on a roller coaster?
Pshaw. Mine has, that's for damn sure.

22. Favorite year so far?
I take them as they come.

23. Do you consider yourself religious?
I consider myself spiritual.

24. How do you dress to impress?
With this body, it's very hard. I'm not fat anymore, but I have a lot of extra, loose skin. It's not a pretty picture, so there's not a lot I can dare to bare, and I can't wear skin-tight, either. Just like when I was really big, there's a lot of clever covering up going on. I do try to get away from wearing all black now, though. Mostly I focus on my best assets, which are my shoulders on up. (Thanks, Jafra!)

25. Have you ever been to Connecticut?
Just once. We spent the night before my grandpa's funeral there last year, which was fitting, because that's where he was raised.

26. Do you eat sushi?
Love it. Can't eat much of the rice, though, so it can be tricky.

27. Would you smoke pot providing there was no risk or driving involved?
I never have, so I don't know... but it is on my Bucket List.

28. What do you think of Idol Winner Phillip Phillips?
Again, I don't give a flying Fig Newton.  ReMEMber??!

29. Do you believe that animals have souls?
I suppose so, yeah.

30. Who did you last talk to? Share, if you dare.
I'm not really scared to tell you I talked to my husband. Should I be? <<looks around nervously>>

31. What is one thing that always annoys you?
My husband is the biggest instigator of my kids' shrieking and whining when we're out in public, because he'll pick on them and bug them to death. Seriously? It drives me crazy. You're almost 40, not 12. Grow up and act your age. (Home is a different story, of course. Go nuts.)

32. Do you believe in a higher being God?
Yes, I do.

33. Have you ever fallen in love with a neighbor?
No, but there were certainly crushes on a few when I was a kid...

34. Any plans for this weekend?
Well, we went out of town the last two weekends, so it's stinko that the Strawberry Festival in town is this weekend, and we have exactly zero dollars to go. Can't even afford the gas down there! Instead, we're cleaning house. (I'm taking a break, obvs.) Maybe we'll go to the beach tomorrow.

35. Would you like to rule your country, if you could?
Hell, no! I'm just not "leader material." I do think it's time for a woman to try her hand at it, though.

36. Do you like watching films about the nature of animals?
You're asking a Biologist this? As long as they're portrayed true to life, yes, I love them.

37. What's the difference between lust and/or lust?
I fail to understand the difference myself there, pal.

38. Do you have a soul?
Le sigh. I was right. This meme is annoying. Of course I do.

39. One best friend or many good friends?
I'd prefer both. Can I have both? 'Cause I do.

40. Do you believe in spontaneous combustion?
That's like asking me if I believe in Evolution. Both are completely observable, witnessed-by-human-eyes scientific phenomena. An emphatic "yes!"
Well. That was meh. Back to work.


Sarah's Baptism

On Sunday, we were invited by one of my "Turtle" friends, Saritah, to witness her and her two sons' baptism at their church in Portsmouth. I love her to death, and I've also never witnessed anyone's baptism - except Robby's, of course, but that was hardly customary - so I was overjoyed to attend.

It was a beautiful ceremony, and it really got me thinking. I grew up as a Christian Scientist (which is not Scientology), so I wasn't baptised in the traditional sense, as they believe you're baptised in the Holy Spirit without the ritualism of the water baptism. (That's truncating the full explanation, but feel free to ask if you need more.) Anyway, I've been struggling my entire adult life - that's 17 years, folks - with the decision about whether to be water-baptised, ever since I left Christian Science after college. I'd read Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, and it inspired somewhat of a Christianity identity crisis in me that has had me on a path of questioning and wanting to soak up all I could about living according to God's Will ever since. I have often failed, but I continually try... and anyway, back to my point.

I decided, at Sarah and the boys' baptism, that when my first living child decides to be baptised, I would do it with him or her. I didn't have long to wait, as later that day, Chloë and I were out together, and she brought up the fact that she, too, wanted to be baptised. Rob and I had decided long ago that we wouldn't baptise them as babies, because we wanted them to come to the decision on their own, when they were old enough to understand the full gravity and import of the decision.

I was so excited to hear of her choice! I gently interrogated her, and without prompting, she was able to clearly explain to me the meaning and importance of baptism in her life, and her walk with Jesus, so I was satisfied that she understood the undertaking. So, like that, we decided that together we would be baptised at our church at the next opportunity. I can't wait! I'm beyond excited. The time is right for me. I'll find out at our Easter services on Saturday night when that will be and, of course, let y'all know!



All four of us Turtles - and our collective 16 children - met up at a nearby Golden Corral for lunch after the baptism. The Other Melanie's family went home to change first, so her kids aren't represented here, but you'll see some of them in a minute.


Saritah's 8-month-old baby, Tempe, was lucky enough to join us at the adult table. She's sitting next to her mama, with Jenny From the Block grinning across the table. Jenny's hubs was ducking out of the picture, next to her; he's camera-shy!


After Chloë shot her straw wrapper across the table at Sophia, Saritah's hubs mentioned something called, "The Snake." I'd never heard of this before, so I made him demonstrate. Here he is getting it ready.


And there it is. Silly. Am I the only one who had never heard of this before?!


At ten, Chloë has her first puppy-love crush on Sarah's older son, Sebastian. It's not unrequited. The two of them... *sigh* I'm trying to discourage such attachment so young, but I've been pretty unsuccessful thus far!


Here's Ginny, another of Sarah's four children, showing off her chocolate mustache. At some point, nearly all of the children were sporting one!


After lunch, a nice couple took Jenny's and my cameras and took photos of all of the Turtles and most of our family's - a few of T.O. Mel's kids opted out. T.O. Mel is preggers with #8! I'm delighted for her, and yeah, a little envious, too. 


The Turtles, Left to Right: Jenny, Melanie, Saritah, and moi

So, that was that awesome day. I'm so happy for Sarah and the boys, and excited for Chloë and myself! Stay tuned...


Sunday Stealing: The 99'er Meme, Part The First

Sunday Stealing

Link up here if you're stealing this weekend!

Cheers to all of us thieves!
1) Put your iTunes on shuffle. Give me the first 6 songs that pop up.
(a) "I'm Yours" by Brandy; (b) "Who Do U Love" by Deborah Cox; (c) "The War Is Over" by Kelly Clarkson; (d) "Four Leaf Clover" by Abra Moore; (e) "Bite Our Style - Interlude" by Missy Elliott; and (f) "A Thousand Years" by Sting.

2) If you could meet anyone on this earth, who would it be?
President Obama

3) Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 23, give me line 17.

"Some days must be dark and dreary." - Longfellow
4) What do you think about most?

Oh, gosh. My mind is on warp speed most of the time. I couldn't possibly pinpoint my number one thought. Travel, maybe?

5) What does your latest text message from someone else say?

"Leaving. Love you!" - Hubs

6) Do you sleep with or without clothes on?

Usually with, unless it's freakin' hot

7) What's your strangest talent?

Hm, I don't know. I can bend my fingers at the first knuckle only.

8) Women.... (finish the sentence); Men.... (finish the sentence)

Women think too much. Men should realize that.

9) Ever had a poem or song written about you?

Not that I know of. Used to pretend that "Melanie" by Weird Al was for me; now Hubs and I pretend that he wrote "The Way You Are" by Bruno Mars for me. I'd love that, though!

10) When is the last time you played the air guitar?

Pfft. Either never or last week. I can't remember these things.

11) Do you have any strange phobias?

Y'all know I'm scared to death of mustard touching me. And sandpaper touching me. And those people in haunted houses touching me. Just don't touch me!

12) Ever stuck a foreign object up your nose?

Oh, probably a straw or two...

13) What's your religion?

Non-denominational Protestant Christian

14) If you are outside, what are you most likely doing?

Playing with or watching the kids play

15) Do you prefer to be behind the camera or in front of it?

I'm the family photographer, but I no longer mind having my photo taken, so it's a draw.

16) Simple but extremely complex. Favorite band?

You can't disappoint me with The Presidents of the United States of America!

17) What was the last lie you told?

Oh, probably something minor like "I don't know" to one of the kids, when I just didn't feel like the hassle of a long drawn-out explanation. Sometimes, it's just tiring!

18) Do you believe in karma?

I believe you eventually reap what you sow...

19) What does your URL mean?

Which one? http://smellyann.typepad.com, for this blahg? Smellyann's my nickname, no mystery there.

20) What is your greatest weakness; your greatest strength?

Weakness: I'm too self-indulgent. Strength: I'm incredibly passionate about the things about which I really care and will go to the ends of the earth for those things/people.

21) Who is your celebrity crush?

Eric Clapton! ♥

22) Have you ever gone skinny dipping?

Yep, sho'nuff.

23) How do you vent your anger?

Used to bottle it up and then explode. Now I bitch, bitch, bitch whenever the mood strikes me. Little leaks instead of one ginormous blow-up. Okay, truthfully, I yell and swear. I'm not proud.

24) Do you have a collection of anything?

I have a collection of collections.

25) Do you prefer talking on the phone or video chatting online?

Neither. I prefer to text or IM online. I don't like video chatting, and I don't like talking on the phone most of the time. What the heck is wrong with me?

Have a great week!