Howdy, folks! Since I missed Ms. Patti LaBelle last weekend, I decided I'd better not also skip out on Ms. Patsy Cline, here. Who among us can not hear "I go walkin'... after midnight..." the moment they see her name, and that title? Show yourselves!
I'm up in the middle of the night (it's 3:30 am right now) nursing an upset tum, so I figured now's as good a chance as any to get to do my S9! If you're joining us, link up here. Let's go then, shall we?
1) The lyrics tell us Patsy Cline was out walking after midnight. Where were you at midnight last night?
Well, whether you mean Thursday night or Friday night, my answer's the same: home in bed.
2) She's sure she hears the night winds whispering to her. Is it windy, breezy, or still outdoors right now?
We're getting residual rain and wind gusts from Hurricane Nicole, so you could say it's quite breezy!
3) When she was 13, Patsy came down with a fever and throat infection so severe she ended up in the hospital. She believed the illness changed her vocal chords and enabled her to sing in a lower key. How are you doing this cold and flu season?
We're all sick with some tenacious bug. I've actually been sick straight through since the end of August, but this is nothing new for me. I have several inherited immunodeficiencies, which I passed down to my kid, Chloë, so the poor thing has also been quite sick. It has not been a kind Autumn to us!
4) Patsy is well remembered today not only for her voice but for her generous spirit. Loretta Lynn, Dottie West and Barbara Mandrell all considered Patsy a trusted personal friend and professional mentor. Have you ever been a mentor?
Yes, multiple times. One way: I was named to the President's 100 list as a Senior at the University of Miami, and I was assigned a rather large group of incoming Freshman in marine sciences to take under my wing, show the ropes to, and help them sort out the ways and whys of working through their first year in that field of study and beyond while living the college life. It was challenging but rewarding. Wait, that's what they all say, right?
5) Patsy had a tough side, too. While traveling by bus and playing one-nighters, she found she and her band sometimes never got paid for their efforts. So she began demanding payment -- in cash -- before they would take the stage. She'd insist, "No dough, no show." Tell us about your tough side.
It's hard for me to stand up for myself. I tend to be a doormat. But do something shady against one of my kids, and this Mama Bear's claws come out and I'm thirsty for blood!
6) Patsy became the first female country star to headline at a Las Vegas showroom. Who is your favorite country performer?
I don't even really like country. I'm supposed to pick a favorite?
7) In 1957, the year this song hit #2 on the charts, embroidered cotton handkerchiefs were a popular present for the ladies on your gift list. Do you own any handkerchiefs?
Not currently, embroidered or otherwise. Once, as a teenager, I was friends with a Scottish lass who embroidered me a hankie, but I've long since misplaced that. It had pretty purple flowers in the corners. And after I graduated high school, that summer, I befriended a Japanese neighbor who made another one for me, which I've also misplaced. Grr at myself!
8) 1957 was a banner year for Elvis. He released four hit records, two top box-office films, and his TV appearances topped the ratings. 65 years later, he is still recognized the world over by his first name alone. Can you think of another performer for whom one name is all that's required?
I can think of two: Cher. Madonna.
9) Random question: What's the most embarrassing story your parents (or siblings) tell about you?
Don't know. Don't care.
Listen, y'all have a splendid weekend, and I hope to continue to visit at least a few of y'all before my newly-diagnosed ADHD brain forgets what it was doing! With or without me, forge on.
Howdy, folks! I missed the super amazing fun times this past weekend because I'm having a bunch of anaphylactic episodes due to what my immunologist termed a "full-blown autoimmune assault." So that's fun. I did an undercover assignment for several hours with my younger daughter, Sophia, and reacted there. And everywhere, pretty much. It's not awesome - especially because I missed you guys!
So I'm trying to get these two in under the radar. While eating delicious fruit salad. And watching a marathon of Bob's Burgers with Sophie, Jack, and Hubs. Funny stuff. Do you watch it? Why not?!!
Welcome to the last Saturday 9 of 2018! Thanks for a great year, everyone.
1) This is an unconventional take on an old familiar song. Over the holidays, do you prefer traditional carols? Or do you like to mix it up with with more contemporary fare?
I like to mix it up. Along with old favorites, I love the song "Santa Tell Me" by Ariana Grande along with pretty much everything by the Pentatonix.
2) Now that Christmas is behind us, are you enjoying a relaxing week? Or do you have socializing/celebrating/chores to do?
I think most of the socializing and celebrating is behind us, other than having fun times tonight with the family. I did want us to go downtown here in Boise, where instead of a ball - I shit you not - they drop a potato. A damn potato! But we're all sick, so I think we may end up just staying home and watching it on the local NBC affiliate tonight. Bummer. Also tomorrow, I wanted us to go up to Bogus Basin, where the ski resort is near us, for all kinds of New Year's Day festivities, but the two older kids have to work, which would be no fun.
3) Winter is a time for cocooning. What book or movie did you enjoy in 2018 that you would recommend to your fellow Saturday 9-ers?
I really enjoyed the movie Dumplin' with Danielle MacDonald. We've been watching a lot of movies on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video lately, but I think that may have been my favourite.
4) Looking back on the past year, what was one of your happiest moments?
Two things: On April 16th, Hubs had surgery for prostate cancer. His recovery was fraught, and I hated every minute of it for him. He ended up having another major surgery and more hospital stays. As for myself, I had surgery on May 22nd, and it was supposed to be far more major than it ended up being. I was honestly scared for my life and, if that ended up being not in jeopardy, then I was scared of being in even more pain than the endless amount I've been suffering for more than 3½ years. In the end, my surgeon decided to close me up early and save the rest of the surgery for another day. So I can honestly say, in 2018, my happiest moment was waking up alive and well, and being still here to torment the rest of Team Odette!
5) What was the smartest thing you did all this past year?
I persevered! It's worth it.
6) As 2018 comes to a close, what are you most grateful for?
♥ Smiles, joy and happiness from my loved ones ♥
7) This week's featured artist is Herb Alpert. Because of the style he popularized and the name of his band, people assume he's Hispanic. Yet his parents were Jewish immigrants from Romania. What's something we'd be surprised to learn about you?
🤦♀️ I dunno anymore; everyone knows everything about me! 🤦♀️
Maybe that I've been varying levels of vegan/vegetarian since August 1995, and as of about a week ago, all five members are now onboard with giving veganism a good go! Why? Get on Netflix or some other streaming service and watch What The Health? and Cowspiracy, and that'll explain a great deal.
8) He performed an instrumental version of "The Star Spangled Banner" at Super Bowl XXII. How did your favorite sports teams do in 2018?
Oh, God. My Miami 'Canes were a disaster! They were up against Wisconsin in a rematch from last year at the Pinstripe Bowl four days ago, and we got totally trounced 35-3. What an embarrassment! Hopefully new head coach Manny Diaz can turn things around for the 2019 program.
9) Random question: When did you last check your social media feed?
I just checked my Instagram notifications a few minutes ago. I'm on it now more than Facebook, although I suppose now that they're both owned by the same people, it doesn't much matter? No, really, I like the quick-speed format of Insta much more, I think.
That was fun. Thanks, Crazy Sam! I'm going to go right into yesterday's Sunday Stealing now, so go take a quick walk around your house or the block or something as an intermission. Then link up here if you want to play along with me and the rest of the thieves, albeit belatedly! ;)
They are if they're a bouquet from Bouqs, like these beautiful calla lilies! I love Bouqs. ☺
2. Do you wear any jewelry?
Yeah, and I like to change it around frequently. I really love Pandora rings (That's why I bought a bunch of inexpensive costume jewelry on eBay recently. I just got this new ring today, and I love it! Except it's scratchy...
3. Have you ever lain in a field of flowers?
I have, but it's been ages, so here's a photo from our April 2015 visit to the Chihuly exhibit at the Fairchild Garden in Miami.
4. Do you like tea?
I like bubble tea. Other tea is okay, as long as it's both caffeinated and flavored. Absolutely no iced tea for me, though!
5. What would you do with a million dollars?
a. Get a good financial advisor and invest wisely, living off the interest as much as possible. b. Buy us a beautiful, elaborate, multi-roomed house like the ones I've been dreaming about my whole life. c. Set up a grantor's trust, so that the kids don't have to struggle any more than we already have and any more than what's necessary for them not to lose their work ethics. and d. Take Hubs on a whirlwind tour of the world, retracing our steps for the last 18 years (our anniversary is on Wednesday!), including here to La Calle Ramblas (with lots of beautiful architecture by Joan Miró) in gorgeous Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. e. And the whole time, I'd have The Barenaked Ladies serenade us with one of our courtship songs, "If I Had a Million Dollars"!
6. What word do you have trouble saying?
Many, many things, but since this is one of Hubs' favorite drinks, I have to attempt to say it a lot: Arnold Palmer. I fail each and every time.
7. Favorite fairytale?
Maybe Little Red Riding Hood, since I have fond memories of my sister and I planning out our skit of it, making props, and then acting it out in front of our grandparents and some of their friends and neighbors.
8. Do you sleep with stuffed animals?
Yes, I sleep with the huge teddy bear Hubs gave me when he gave me my engagement ring.
9. Do you prefer the city or the country?
I am definitely a big city girl at heart!
10. Are you a big fan of makeup?
I used to be, but nowadays I usually keep it simple and just wear mascara and maybe some lip gloss.
11. Favorite drink?
Hands-down, it's Diet Coke! (And for my grandpa, it was "Coke on the rocks!"
12. What’s the longest amount of time you’ve stayed awake?
Several days in a row, once Chloë was out of the NICU. Even when she'd sleep, I had awful insomnia. Man, those were some miserable days for me! (Aside from the beautiful new baby girl, natch.)
13. Have you ever traveled outside of your country?
Beautiful Talofofo Falls on Guam
Yes, many times, but the one I'm most yearning to return to at this point in time isn't even technically outside the United States.
14. Do you like Spring?
I love Spring! It's my second favorite season after Summer. Especially when all the tulips come in around Idaho.
15. Lipstick or lip gloss?
I'll wear lipstick (like my Young Living ones) on the odd occasion, lip gloss (like the lighted mirror-containing one at the back of the picture above) slightly more frequently, but mostly lip balm.
I do! My tastes run eclectic and colorful as hell, like here, which is certainly not for everybody!
18. Do you ever go barefoot when you’re outside?
I love being barefoot! Especially when we're at the beach... nothing like it!
19. Are aliens real?
How the hell should I know?!
20. Does your zodiac sign fit your personality?
I don't really buy into astrology as anything more than entertainment. I find bits of myself in all 12 signs of the zodiac - and some of all the Chinese ones, too. But I do often see a lot of myself in the Virgo horoscope, like above.
21.Favorite sea animal?
I think right now, at this moment in time, it's the Tasselled Wobbegong, Eucrossorhinus dasypogon. Cool looking, right?
22. Are you a nice person?
I try very, very hard to be. I don't always succeed, but I keep trying!
23. Favorite word?
24. Night or day?
Oh, I am a total night owl. Also, science has found that we night owls are: more creative; more intelligent; more productive; and, more successful. However, we are also more likely to be single and die early.
25. What would make you happy right now?
It would thrill the shite out of me if I stopped having allergic reactions to every single thing. I mean it: everything. Every food I eat. Being too hot. Being too cold. Medications. And things are moving quickly in the wrong direction. So yeah, for 2019, which in this time zone (MST) starts in 04:12, I would really like for at least that aspect of my poor health to turn around. I just can't do it anymore!!!
So it's almost 8 PM, and I guess I better figure out the plan for New Year's Eve! Kinda late for that, but meh! Not feeling it this year.
Classical: If you were an Olympian god, what would you be known for?
I would absolutely be the goddess of the sea! Byzantine: Do you prefer gold or silver accessories?
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?
I don't consider myself to be religious. I am spiritual.
Gothic: What is your favorite historic building?
La Sagrada Familia, the giant work-in-progress cathedral in Barcelona. Hubs and I visited it in person in 2008, when we went to Spainon 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?
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.
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
It doesn't. You're thinking of the platypus.
Pop Art: Do you enjoy pop culture?
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?
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.
Hey, y'all, welcome back! I'm glad you could join me. If you'd like to play along today, don't forget to link up with the rest of the Sat 9ers here. So, let's go!
The Love Club (2013) Unfamiliar with this week's song. Hear it here.
1) Lorde has said this song is about a time when she fell into "a bad crowd." Her high-maintenance new friends were all about their romantic dramas and it overwhelmed her. Have you ever had a friend who was just too much work?
I have had a couple actually, but generally, I think that friend is me. I am a high-maintenance person, I admit.
2) She sings that she longs to be alone. Where do you go when you want peace and quiet?
If I weren't landlocked now in Boise, Idaho, I would say, "to the beach!" One time, way back when I was still in college in Coral Gables, Florida, I decided that I needed a bit of soul time convening with my first love, the ocean. I drove out to Bill Bass State Park at the end of Key Biscayne early on a Sunday morning, and I sat on the beach and stared out at the water. I was having a bit of trouble with this and that, and so after a while, I decided to pray. I prayed about all of the struggles in my life at the time, and I prayed for guidance. After I finished, I looked back up at the water, and at that moment, for the first time, I saw a manta ray breach. It was one of the most beautiful, most glorious things I had ever seen in my entire life. So now that I can no longer just wake up and go straight to the ocean, I will say, "to nature." I always have to be alone and outside to be one with Mother Nature.
3) Lorde credits her mother for encouraging her verbal skills. "Mum" let her join a theater class when she was just 5 and was always giving her books. Tell us about an encouraging, understanding adult who assisted you when you were growing up.
That would be my Middle, Junior High, and High School (not straight through) Spanish teacher, then known as Señora O'Toole. A lot of times, I didn't talk to her directly, but through my written work in Spanish. I didn't know it until much, much later - when I didn't even remember writing that stuff - when all of Team Odette went up to the Syracuse area in 2014 for my 20th high school reunion. My family and I had breakfast with Doctora O'Toole (as she's now known, on the faculty of SUNY Oswego) one morning, at her house. She told me about how those journal entries in Spanish used to break her heart. We talked sometimes, when I was still in school, about what was going on, but I never shared too much for fear of over-sharing. (Another Spanish teacher, Sra. Nevid, had seen bruises all over my arms once, CPS was called, it was a huge deal of course, and I got in big trouble at home for it.) However, it was good to know that Sra. O'Toole, and others, cared. ♥
4) Lorde is not the only celebrity from her class at Belmont School in Auckland, New Zealand. Olympian Eliza McCartney was a classmate who went on to win a bronze medal in Rio for the pole vault. Did you participate in any sports in high school?
I really didn't. I'm not terribly athletic, unlike my equestrian daughter, Sophia. (Speaking of the Olympics, Sophie has such aspirations. She'll be 13 in April; we tell her about 54-year-old Beezie Madden and remind Sophie that she has plenty of time..!) I danced for several years and was quite good at that, though.
6) Lorde wrote music for one of the Hunger Games soundtracks. Have you seen any of the Hunger Gamesmovies, or read any of the books?
I tried to read the books, but never got very far into the first one. We have, however, seen all four movies. SO GOOD!! I love this series!
7) Her favorite candy is Peanut M&Ms. Do you prefer Milk Chocolate, Peanut, Almond, Mint or Crispy M&Ms?
None of the above! It's got to be Peanut Butter. Have you not tried them?! Oh, but you must.
8) When Lorde was on stage at Lollapalooza, a sudden storm interrupted her set. The music festival was evacuated and her performance was cancelled. Can you think of a time when the weather had a major impact on your plans?
I lived in South Florida from 1994-2001, and then moved back to Miami from 2013-2017, so I can think of many times! The first time, I was a freshman/sophomore (I technically came in as a sophomore, but never mind that) at UM when Tropical Storm Gordon hit. That was in the 1994 hurricane season, my first experience with one. Classes were canceled for days! I had to wade through thigh-high water to go anywhere, for about a week after the wind and rains stopped. I ruined so many pairs of shoes from the humidity, too. When we moved back in 2013, I warned my kids about that over and over! I don't think we lost one shoe to mold from being caught in the rains. #ILearnedSomethingInCollege ;)
9) Random question: Please complete this sentence -- Before I leave the house, I always __________________________.
... fill up my cups. I usually bring two: one with water, and one with the Fred Meyer version of Diet Coke (which isn't half bad and a helluva lot cheaper). I get really dehydrated super-fast, so I always bring both if I'm going to be gone any length of time. It's really annoying. I normally drink 8-10 L of H2O/diet soda/whatever per day, and I have been hospitalized with hyponatremia three times that I can think of. My sodium goes so low, it really messes with my neurological system, among other things, and my potassium, chloride, and other electrolytes get messed up, too. The last time I was admitted for it, in January, they limited me to an intake of 1.5 L per day. Oh, my God, I struggled!! I have really tried to cut back since then.
Welp, y'all, I appreciate the visit! I hope your weekend is amazing! I have a busy one full of taking care of 3 sick teenagers. Yay, me. Hopefully, yours will be more exciting!
1) Jimmy Buffett is singing about his bandmates watching hockey in a sports bar. Since it's Super Bowl weekend, our first question is: In cold weather, which sport to you watch most: football, hockey, or basketball?
I watch my Hurricanes play football, when I can find it way out West here. Tonight on our mystery shop dinner date, I watched the Boise State Broncos play UNLV. They were winning, last I saw. I want to watch the Super Bowl tomorrow, but I'll probably forget.
2) Jimmy sings it's just 20º outside. How high will the mercury reach where you are today?
60ºF on February 3rd! Yet Climate Change isn't real. Right.
3) "Boat drinks" are mixed drinks designed to enhance the enjoyment of a boat ride or time on the beach. Popular boat drinks include The Tequila Sunrise, Cuba Libre, and Mimosa. When did you last sip an alcoholic beverage? Was it a boat drink?
I had to go back really far in my Instagram account to December 1st, before I got sick with a severe case of pneumonia for two months (and counting), to discover that it was, again, at Texas Roadhouse: A sangria. I do remember that I initially ordered a Rum Runner, and the young bartender asked, "Rum Runner? What's that? What's in that?" #Dumbass.
Oh wait, I think I had a sip or two of some champagne for our 17th anniversary on January 2nd. No pictures as evidence, apparently!
4) Jimmy met his wife, Jane, in Key West at a bar called The Chart Room. Have you ever been to Key West?
Girl, you know I've been to Key West a billion times (give or take)! I first went when I was an undergrad at the University of Miami, circa 1996. I last went in October of 2016 with my family. I took a bunch of photographs, but this portrait of Sophia in the sunset at Southernmost Point was my favorite from that trip.
5) Have you ever met anyone worth knowing at a bar?
So this was Palm Beach, Florida, not Las Vegas, Nevada, but... let's just say Hubs and I met a very interested bartender at a resort one night. We had a good time with him. #NuffSaid
6) While Keith Richard and Paul McCartney have made cameo appearances in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, Jimmy Buffet has not. Producers have asked him, but he's always had to decline because of his touring schedule. Have you seen any of the Pirates/Jack Sparrow movies?
I have not. It's been on, in my presence, but I didn't watch. Not my genre.
7) When Jimmy gave the commencement address at the University of Miami, he showed up in flip-flops. How many pairs of flip-flops do you own?
He did?! That's so cool. Wish I'd seen that! I own about at least half a dozen pairs of flip-flops, which now sit unused half the year. I wore my Crocs flippers year-round in Miami, though. Today, I had to wear tall black pleather boots for our date night. I couldn't zip up the sides when I first got them, because I have enormous calves anyway and had put on some way. After four hospital admissions between December and January, though, they now fit loosely.
8) Jimmy has his own station on Sirius Radio. Do you subscribe to Sirius?
We actually don't. I prefer to listen to regular FM radio. We had one car with it, until the free trial expired. I didn't renew.
9) Random question: What trend or fad from your youth do you hope never makes a comeback?
The high hair with a full can of hairspray in it was pretty gross. I didn't go this extreme, but I got a little there. Ugh, what a pain!
That was fun, thanks Crazy Sam! Stay tuned for more from me: Sunday Stealing is coming up next!
1)David Lee Roth does a lot of jumping in this video. He credits his flashy moves to his study with martial artist Benny Urquidez. Have you ever tried karate, judo, or jiu-jitzu?
A. When I was five or six years old, my parents dragged Stacey and me to their first-ever karate class. We were waiting outside, dawdling and loitering and killing time, when suddenly my mom made a mad dash out the door, followed promptly by my father. I asked, "What's wrong with Mom?" And Dad shouted over his shoulder, laughingly, as he ran past, "She peed her pants doing a kick!" This incident has shaded my opinion of ever personally taking karate classes myself.
B. Jack and Sophia started taking some faux-Korean Karate classes via a Groupon in Summer 2015, from some shamster named "Master Dave." The lessons were bogus, and they learned diddly squat and hated every minute of it. We didn't even finish out their 10-session Groupon. What a load of bunk.
C. My older daughter, Chloë, is interested in taking some self-defense courses, and I met a guy at the craft beer shop recently who runs a local Krav Maga studio. He said we could check it out for our first class for free. Free is my favorite price! Since Chloë is unbearably shy, I plan to join her in this. Soon, I hope.
* 2) Dave claims to be fluent in Spanish. Say something en español.
That Keanu meme cracks me up every time!! I'm fairly fluent in Spanish and can say or work my way around most verbal obstacles with ease. I'm not sure what to tell you. Let's see: Tengo quatro hijos: dos hijas y dos hijos. Unos de mis hijos es un ángel.
3) Dave appeared as himself in an episode of The Sopranos, playing poker with Tony Soprano. Are you a good poker player?
First of all, I have no poker face. I wear my heart on my sleeve and my emotional state on my face. Second, a former friend gave me $20 to play at the Texas Hold 'Em low-bets table in Vegas back in 1999 or so. I lost that $20 in about five minutes. So, no. I'm no good at the ol' poker.
4) Though known for his prowess on the guitar, Eddie Van Halen wrote the opening of this song at the keyboard when he was still new to the synthesizer. When do you recently venture outside your comfort zone? Was it a success?
When I was in the hospital recently for this pneumonia, I was a fall risk. I needed help going anywhere and doing anything, including using the restroom. The nurse I had on the first two days insisted on staying in the bathroom with me and watching my every move. Despite my delirium, I had enough sense to know that I was extremely uncomfortable with this - AND I had an upset stomach at the time - AND it stunk. I was mortified by her presence while I navigated each and every bathroom trip. Needless to say, I survived, but oh my God, was it way outside my comfort zone.
P.S. Her name was Kelsey, and we eventually grew close enough during that hospital stay that I'm kicking myself for not getting her contact info so we could keep in touch and be friends!
5) Eddie's older brother Alex is the Van Halen drummer, and his son Wolfie began touring with the band in 2007. Have you ever worked with a family member?
I worked in my Dad's travel business office in high school, for no pay. I did menial labor and basically all his computing needs, since he is so not savvy it hurts. He left me there for hours on end with no way of leaving, often with nothing of substance in the fridge or in the cupboards. Once, I was so hungry, I ate spoonful after spoonful of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter with nothing else. To this day, I gag thinking of that stuff.
6) Van Halen's first manger was Marshall Berle. Mr. Berle's uncle was Milton Berle. Does the name Milton Berle mean anything to you?
I think of late-show comedy. Like Johnny Carson-era and earlier.
7) In 1984, when this song was popular, AT&T/Bell Telephone was broken up into 24 separate companies. Today, who is your phone provider?
Right now and for the past four or five years, we've been with AT&T. We're thinking of switching to Sprint, if I'm right about their promotions that will slash our bill in more than half. If anyone has thoughts - good or bad - about Sprint, I'm game to hear them, please!
8) Also in 1984, Michael Jackson was severely burned while filming a Pepsi commercial. Would we find any Pepsi in your kitchen right now?
You gotta be crazy with that nonsense.
9) Random question: Have you ever been so angry that you kicked or hit an inanimate object?
I've been known to throw a dish or two at the floor when I'm super-duper-extremely pissed. Although not my Fiestaware, no sir! And I do have a rather large collection of it, though not quite as extensive as the photo above. #2018Goals!
Well I'm in a much better mood than when I started this meme. Thanks for the fun, Crazy Sam!!
Hey, y'all! Welcome back. I'm thrilled to be back after missing the last few weeks due to illness. Glue me down, because hopefully I'll be sticking around for a while. Link up here if you want to play along this week. Let's go!
End of Year Questions
1. What did you do last year that you had not done before?
I moved out West! Rob and I packed up our three kids, two dogs, four cats, two gerbils, one guinea pig, and as much of our stuff that we could fit in the remainder of our little crossover SUV, and high-tailed it cross-country from Miami to Boise in four days. It was a crazy, amazing adventure and aside from a few misadventures, I think we kind of had the time of our lives!
2. 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?
I always make New Year's Resolutions. However, I honestly don't remember now what I resolved for 2017, so I can't say whether I kept it or not. Probably some konmari decluttering, in which case... sort of. For 2018, I'm not making any resolutions. I just aim and hope to live a healthier life from here on out, much more so than the way I disastrously ended 2017!
3. Did anyone you know give birth? Or become pregnant? Or adopt?
My friend got married and had a baby boy, named Aaron! Sadly for me, I left Miami before she gave birth, so I haven't met the little love. Domenica asked me to crochet or knit something for her baby, but I've been in so much pain and stuff, I haven't had the ability to do it, yet. I think this year, I resolve to knit and crochet more again. Gotta put all the good yarn I own to good use, right? I'll make her baby something to keep him warn soon, especially now that freezing iguanas are falling all over the sidewalk in South Florida.
My brilliant mind fails me now, so I can't remember who is pregnant at the moment. Oh, my friend Lisa Keeney is expect #6, I think. But I am positive I don't know anyone who adopted last year.
4. Did anyone you know die? Or have a serious illness/injury?
I don't think anyone I know personally died last year? I hope I'm not forgetting somewhat, sheesh. As far as having a serious illness or injury, that would be me. I wrote all about it in my last post. If you care, I detailed that experience here. I know there are lots of typos in the post, but I'm just not in the mood to go fix them right now, sorry!
5. What places have you visited?
We were invited to hang out with new friends at Lucky Peak Reservoir here in Boise, Idaho. It was intensely beautiful, just like everywhere we've gone in Idaho. I can't wait to go back again this summer and see more of it.
6. Any new pets? Lost a pet?
We gained 12 chickens, but after a few runaways and a couple of deaths, we're down to half that.
Chloë also adopted a new guinea pig buddy, Alex, for her first little guy, James. Those two are SO noisy!
7. What would you like to have next year that you lacked this year?
I will continue my pursuit of this grand idea of Contentment, rather than Happiness. I am often content, but those moments are often overpowered by thoughts of "now what? what's next? what else?" and I want to learn to be satisfied with the right here and now.
8. What date from last year will remain etched in your memory and why?
Probably January 20-21, 2017. Not-my-President Trump was inaugurated (ugh! puke! barf!) and my family and I all participated in the Women's March to protest. I made three pussyhats, for my girls and me, and I was proud to wear them and represent.
9. What was your biggest achievement last year?
We struggled a lot in Miami after Rob retired from the US Navy, and our financial picture changed drastically for the worse. It was really hard to find housing to rent here in Boise, from Miami, and I worked tirelessly for months to do so. Home after home after home slipped through our fingers due to the three-digit credit scores of ours that, frankly, aren't so pretty right now. But we're rebuilding, and I saw this home online right after it was listed. I jumped on it, and asked to speak the Lessor by phone, rather by email or text. He agreed and ended up talking on the phone to Rob when the time came, because I had to leave for some reason I now forget. Anyway, we landed the house, and it has been perfect for us. Such a blessing, and for it I am most grateful.
10. Did you get sick or injured?
Oops, I already answered that in #4. Scroll up if you forgot?
11. What was the best thing you bought?
We've had a very NERF Christmas here at Casa de Odette. Except for me, everyone received some NERF hyper-powered weapons (these things take lots of batteries now?!). We finally received all of our household goods from the Miami move on the Monday before Thanksgiving, and boxes and boxes were piled everywhere. While I was trying to work on unpacking and clearing the chaos out of our house (it's still here, by the way), the rest of Team Odette were busy ambushing each other with NERF wars. Micro-teams were built, alliances were formed, people were trying to wheedle each other's secrets out of me... these people were/are intense! And crazy. They all asked for more NERF weapons for Christmas, and Mum delivered. Even Hubs has been involved. It's been a daily thing. I'm not a fan of war and weapons and fighting and stuff, but this is actually good, silly fun. I don't participate - I can't participate, because of my Fibro or whatever - but I have to admit I enjoy this nonsense.
12. Where did most of your disposable income go (money leftover after you pay for food, medical care, basic clothing, transportation and shelter)?
Generally it goes to having experiences and creating memories. A large part of that is Sophia's showjumping lessons, which she used to do at Miami International Riding Club back in Florida, and now does at Wasatch Sport Horses here in Eagle, Idaho. I'm trying to get the other kids more involved in things, too, because it's important. Jack wants to go go-karting, so we'll do that again very soon, and Chloë wants to take self-defense classes (we are starting with a class at the local Krav Maga studio) and get involved in archery. All are coming up, but at a more relaxed pace then the frenetic one I've tried to keep up until now.
13. What song will always remind you of last year?
I think both the songs "Woman" and "Praying" by the new-and-improved Kesha will be my girls' and my anthems for 2017. Jack doesn't really listen to music much (except for his obsession with the Imagine Dragons), and Rob listens more to Classic Rock than anything else. The girls seem to have captured my affinity for current Pop, and the three of us are all fairly decent singers. "Praying" really spoke to me, and "Woman," despite the cursing involved, really struck a cord with me increasingly independent 16-year-old Chloë and always independent 12-year-old Sophia. And me. I've been pretty much a wimp my whole life, but I have stood up for myself in 2017 in ways that I have never done before. Kinda proud of that.
14. What do you wish you would have done more of?
I really wish my health had been strong enough to go hiking and exploring more in our new Idahome. I am going to build it up, slowly but surely, so that when warmer weather returns, I can do exactly that in 2018.
15. What do you wish you would have done less of?
Getting sick, dammit! This shit is for the birds. Sirrusleh.
16. 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?
We saw a number of movies - some I slept through - in the theater in 2017, but Despicable Me 3 and The Secret Life of Pets were my favorites. Yeah, yeah, we still watch a lot of movies geared more toward a younger audience, and I actually like those a lot. I like more adultish movies, too, but I'm a kid at heart and frequently love the animated ones just as much.
17. What was the best book you read this year? How many did you read?
I honestly didn't read any books last year. I read some of some books, but I didn't go from cover to cover on anything. Not proud of that. Used to be such a bookworm; what happened to me?! I'm still not making any resolutions, but I plan to change that abysmal record in 2018. ;)
18. What did you do on your birthday and how old were you? Did you feel differently?
I turned 41 in September, and neither Rob nor I can remember what we did on or around that occasion. Must have have been a real big whoopty-doo.
19. What political or social issue stirred you the most?
The #MeToo movement was a pretty powerful one, obviously, both publicly and personally for me. It stirred up some things that have happened to me, which I've never dealt with. I now realize that I need to, because they're coming out and looking to be dealt with whether I want them to or not.
20. Who was the most interesting new person you met?
Our neighbor a few houses down on the cul-de-sac, Gladys, is pretty interesting. She's elderly, has more facial hair than my husband, talks herself blue in the face, is part Native American, converted to Mormonism, and is never at a loss for words for something interesting to say. I love her. It's hard not to stare at her beard (please, God, let me have the sense to pluck that shit if I get to be 75 and that happens to me), but I love her. She brings us treats now and then, has invited us to this luau and the Christmas party at her LDS church, is just an all-around good soul.
21. Describe how a relationship changed.
My relationship with Hubs and the kids is ever-evolving the longer we're all together, of course. Now that Chloë is 16, she's maturing and more and more, developing a mind of her own. Unlike me at that age, she is not afraid to stick up for herself when she feels like she's been wronged. I admire her for that, and I encourage her to do it when she has a valid point. We had a tough time when she had a major depressive episode in mid-November, but it brought us more closely together as a family. And we're already a close-knit family. I think she'll be just fine. I think we all will.
22. Do you think you are still the same person that you were at the beginning of the year? How so?
Definitely not. I have moved my family from the East Coast to almost the West Coast. Life is completely different here; we risked everything for it, and it panned out. It was complete culture shock coming to Boise, Idaho, from Miami, Florida, but in a good way. I planned on not getting sick anymore, but as soon as I attempted to get a job and started working, boom! I got hit with Pneumonia #7 in a year's time. I've had two more and more severe cases of pneumonia since then, and I could have died from this latest bout from which I'm still recuperating. I've learned that my daughter and I are both immunoglobulin A deficient, and while most people with this somewhat common genetic defect (lol) are asymptomatic, Chloë and I get sick quickly, frequently, and seriously. I will need to get IgA infusions, and she may, too. I've been sick my whole life, and this is the year - I hope - that I figure out all the pieces of that puzzle. Oh, and ICYMI, I stood up for myself and set boundaries with my father - something I have never in my life done. I'm proud of that.
24. How have people around you changed?
We all change, everyone does, every year... or so I imagine. However, I feel like I ought to shine a light on 12-year-old Sophie for this one. As the baby of the family, she's really not used to being in charge of something or someone, and she has a habit of being, I don't know, a little passive when it comes to riding. That doesn't always work with the more strong-willed horses she's ridden, and in August 2016, she badly broke her wrist after her horse, Lacey, threw her when she dodged a jump. That led to over a year's break in riding, during with both she and I suffered from a lack of confidence when we finally found her current showjumping barn, Wasatch Sport Horses.
She's ridden a couple of strong-willed mares, Sunny and Daisy, up 'til today when she rode this beautiful boy, Bing. I didn't take her; Rob did, but Sophie described Bing as being "very jumpy," with a sly smile on her face. I talked to her, and she revealed he has quite the playful personality when being tacked up and down, too, like he has a secret song in his head! Anyway, my point is, she regained her confidence and got back on the horse's back this past Fall. She didn't let the broken wrist keep her down, and she has managed to figure out - with her coaches' help - how to show dominance over both mares in order to get them jumping and following her lead, not their own. Ultimately, she and Connie (her current coach) agree that Bing is a better fit at 17.1 hands high for those long legs of hers. And she fits well with his silly, "jumpy" personality. I hope she'll get a few more tries on Bing soon, and then we may consider leasing him for her to ride whenever she wants. I'm so proud of her!
25. What have you learned throughout the year?
I've learned that I have boundaries and how to set them and stick with that. What? Who knew?!
26. Did you learn any new crafts or techniques? What was your favorite thing you made?
Nope, I didn't learn anything new that was crafty. No new techniques on the old ones, either, unless you count a new cast-on technique in knitting that I didn't know before. Maybe that counts. Chloë and I want to go take a glass-blowing class soon. I keep seeing Groupon deals come up for it here in town, but I haven't jumped on it yet. I think that'll happen this spring.
27. What changed about your physical appearance? (Hair? Wrinkles? New makeup style? Etc.)
Well, you know how I've been peddling JAFRA cosmetics for the past 20 years or so? (Well, now you do.) I started using Young Living Essential Oils at one of my BFF Shana's urging. I've gotten a lot of benefit from my YLEOs, so when they came out with the (admittedly pricey) line Savvy Minerals cosmetics, I eventually decided to come around and give it a try. Little by little, I've accumulated more Savvy Minerals items, and I've come to love them. So much so, in fact, that I have decided to end my two-decades-long relationship with JAFRA and focus my efforts (whatever little they may be) on Young Living. I have a shit ton of JAFRA makeup that I'm selling off little by little, in order to buy more Savvy Minerals. They're perfect. They feel so clean and healthy on my skin, and I know that Young Living doesn't sacrifice quality for profits.
As for hair, I'm growing it out and have been auditioning different hair colors in the brown-auburn ranges. Regarding wrinkles, not so much, but I am getting BOTOX for my migraines on the 23rd of this month. I'm pretty vain, so I don't mind dropping a pretty penny on my various and sundry creams and serums, but not so much so that I would get BOTOX to feed that vanity. I've been offered this migraine treatment more than once in the past, but I was so self-conscious about the idea that someone might think I'm using it for anti-aging purposes, I haven't gone forward with it. By this point in time, however, my various neurologists over the past 20+ years have tried every single headache/migraine medicine on the market, and nothing stops the daily onslaught. It's BOTOX time, y'all.
28. What are your hopes and dreams for the new year? (Some suggestions: family, travel, work, lifestyle, hobbies, pets, appearance)
I want to be cleared from this freakin' MRSA pneumonia that totally kicked my ass all around the block last month and now, and get and stay healthier. I want to be consistent with getting the healthcare I'm supposed to get, and not be procrastinating or postponing the things I haven't wanted to "bother" with because they just didn't seem so important at the time. I want to explore more of our new home state of Idaho, and hopefully get up into a road trip up North to Coeur d'Alene, into Canada and over West to Vancouver, B.C., and south into a Seattle, Washington, and then Portland, Oregon, before coming back East to Boise. I really hope this happens.
Chloë wants to visit Niagara Falls - on both sides of the border - so maybe we'll attempt that trip, too. The childrens' passports will need to be obtained, clearly! I want to pick up my knitting habit again and learn more techniques such as entrelac. I'd like for Rob to finish building our chicken habitat - an injury to his hand caused a setback, and then snow fell, and, well, it sits incomplete in our backyard at the mo' - so we can double our six-pack of chicky babies by Summer. And I'd like to shed at least 30 of the pounds I've put on in the past two years, thanks to medication changes and complications with my 9-year-old gastric bypass procedure. Lots to look forward to!
Welp, that's mah post, you guys. Hope you enjoyed! Or at least stayed awake... ;)
So this is a story about how, ultimately, I spent the 2017-2018 holidays. Here I was on December 4th, 2017, already sick but determined to rally and get better in time for all of the festive and fun Advent activities I had planned for our little familia.
Unfortunately, maybe?, many of those activities were outside in the cold air, and many of them were among a crowd of strangers. I don't know when, exactly, or how, exactly, I got sick, but I sort of documented my decline. Already in the beginning of December, I knew this illness would be significantly different, somehow, than the first eight times I ended up with pneumonia in the past 18 months or so.
Here I was later, with Chloë on December 15th. I had already been to my own primary care doctor, complaining of illness and general malaise. He gave me 4 days (!!) of prednisone and informed me, perhaps for the first time since I've been getting all this pneumonia, that I'm supposed to be using my Advair inhaler twice a day as a maintenance prevention for breathing problems, and the rescue inhaler - hopefully - no more than once per week. By the time I saw them, I was using it two or three times a day.
I had also been to the emergency room the night before this visit, with Chloë and the rest of Team Odette to the Scentsy Commons Point of Light Christmas spectacle. I had not gotten better on the Advair and Prednisone routine, and I could feel myself sinking deeper into the illness. They gave me a few days - maybe a Z-pack? but I forget by now - of antibiotics and sent me home.
By December 21st, I was admitted into the hospital. That was following visit #2 to my primary care doctor, feeling even sicker yet, but nothing was done. Absolutely nothing. He said my lungs sounded like they had "improved," and he sent me home with nothing.
No X-rays had ever been taken for any of these three combined visits, despite my complaints and despite the fact that I had ended up with pneumonia eight times in the previous year and a half or so.
When I was admitted on the 21st, I felt sicker than I had ever been in my entire life. They did the X-rays, and then they did a CT of my lungs. The internal medicine specialist and the pulmonologist with whom he consulted agreed: I had the worst-looking set of lungs they had ever seen in their entire combined careers. I was feeling, I thought, "better" and didn't want to comply with certain parts of my treatment in the hospital after admission, like eating a Dysphasia Level 2 diet that I didn't feel was necessary because it was so extremely restrictive. Every time I tried to order something to eat, I was told it was not on my list. I could basically eat very soupy mashed potatoes, creamy soups, watery oatmeal, and... cottage cheese. I lived on those for a week. At first, I felt like they were serving me pre-chewed, unappetizing food and returned it to the kitchen without eating any, embarking on my own personal hunger strike. Thank goodness I could still get my beloved addictionDiet Coke from the kitchen!
I was stupid.
When my lovely nurse came in to tell me what the doctors had said about my lungs and inform me about how serious my case was, she was in tears. I didn't expect her to be in tears telling me how sick I was, in front of my family. By the time she finished, I was in tears, too. And after that, because I am a mother and I have a job to do on this earth, I agreed to be fully compliant with every step in my healing process.
(Thankfully, the kids were distracted by their tablets and were not paying any attention, which was a relief for me, because I would have wanted to deliver that kind of news myself.)
This was the scene outside my hospital window, when I woke up on Christmas morning. I was excited for the kids, because I knew how badly they wished for snow. Enough snow to play in, build stuff with... and they got it for Christmas! I was delighted. But I knew the conditions on the road were not good, and I was sad at the thought of spending Christmas in the hospital without my family. I cried. My nurses brought me tissues and pudding. I took my solace that lonely Christmas Day in chocolate sugar-free Hunts pudding cups. Granted, I had some pills crushed up in them, but still. It wasn't so bad. Right?
By this time, I had been moved into the lead-room. I had had a shower down on Floor 2 on my second day in the hospital. It wore me out for three full days, and I had a setback. Sometime in there - I was quite delirious for parts of it - the internal medicine doc who had admitted me, came in to tell me about my case. He told me it was very severe, and he seemed both doubtful and agitated when he told me three different times, in three different ways, that I would improve, get better, recover from this. I wasn't sure if he was trying to convince me or himself.
After that, I was moved up to Floor 6. They were consolidating patients onto specific wings and floors, because they had a skeleton crew for the holidays. I was moved from my spacious 2nd floor room into this teensy-tiny lead-filled room on the 6th floor. The purpose of the room was to treat thyroid cancer patients with radioactive uranium. My nurse told me that the nursing staff had extremely limited time with these patients, due to the radioactivity, and basically had enough time to peek in and throw their food trays at the patients. They received their medicine through a double-door window. Often, these patients were from foreign countries and sometimes spoke little or no English. The nurse told me that these poor patients, usually female it seemed, were often trembling with fear and confusion about what was happening to them during their treatment. After they were finally released, the rooms were checked daily with Geiger counters until no more radioactivity was detected, and then other patients and routine nursing care could continue there.
Hearing this, I felt so sad for those patients, and I was more strongly determined that what was going on with me was relatively minor. I believed my doctor now: I would improve. I would get better. I would recover from this. I knew I would.
Eventually, the roads did clear enough, and my family came to see me for a short 90-minute visit on Christmas Day. I was elated! I looked like hell but didn't care: this was definitely a photo op!
By this point, they and the staff were required to wear masks and, in the case of the staffs, full disposable gowns to come in and treat me. I had tested positive for community-acquired MRSA pneumonia. It was in all my mucus membranes and, because I was coughing so severely that I had to take round-the-clock narcotics for the pain that caused, every one coming into contact with me had to "gown up."
By this point, and outside first-class pulmonologist had been called in to consult on my case, and he visited me every day in the hospital after that. (I can't even remember his name, though I am sure it's in my records and in my discharge paperwork.Somewhere. One day during this stay, I was also so delirious that I could not remember my birth date, where I was at the moment, or why I was there. I was giggling and thought this made me so stupid; nurses were called immediately to evaluate me. I was still giggling and insistent that I was in the Naval hospital in Portsmouth, Virginia, having had a tonsillectomy. I was lulu-cray!)
The pulmonologist was determined to crack my case and find out why I got so sick so quickly, and why I've kept getting pneumonia all these times. Several theories were floated: The doctors seemed to believe my then-claim (which was later confirmed by bloodwork), that I had a severe IgA deficiency and make no detectable levels of this first line of defense in the immune system. I was highly interested in this theory because I knew - also recently confirmed by bloodwork - that Chloë inherited this IgA deficiency from me.
The speech therapy team were certain that I had a weakened swallowing mechanism and wanted me to have a swallowing study done. They felt I was aspirating frequently, and that this was leading to some of my bouts of pneumonia. I knew for a fact that, despite the inconvenience of the diet, they were right. On some counts.
I can never remember the third theory. That's probably a bad thing, because I was sure it, too, was playing a role in all these increasingly serious illnesses.
The day after Christmas, Rob sent me this adorable picture of Paco in the new bed we gave him and Tapioca for Christmas. They had also been snuggling up together in it, at first, but eventually Paco showed Alpha Male dominance and claimed it for himself. I could see my husband and kids, but I missed my puppies something awful! I kept trying to get Rob to smuggle at least Paco in to see me. One of my nurses was on my side (hee!), but Rob did not relent.
Two nights before I was released from the hospital, I had this male nurse who spells his name differently but sounds-like Bo, who is the one described above. After I posted this, he also refused to bring me my Advair and albuterol inhaler, or call the respiratory therapist for a nebulizer treatment, when I was having trouble breathing. I have many nursing friends on Facebook who talked me into filing a formal complaint against him. I did. I was shocked when, after that, he returned to "caring" for me! He was full of sad, lame excuses for what happened, how busy he had been, and how my meds were "in his back pocket" but he just didn't get a chance to bring them to me. Needless to say, I filed a second complaint against Bo - including the breathing treatments this time - when I was being released and the charge nurse came in to check on my level of care.
I must say, all of the rest of my treatment was unimpeachable but, bar none, the best care I received was from Rob. I can't complain a bit about how amazingly well he cared - has always cared - for me during this rough time. He's the best. He's an absolute keeper. Chloë asked him if I would be home from the hospital in time for our 17th anniversary on January 2nd. He could only look at her and say, "I don't know."
During this stay, my normally crappy veins were even more uncooperative than usual. The nurses were no match for those rotten blood vessels! They kept calling the phlebotomists to do the 3x-a-day blood draws, but even the phlebs kept feeling awful about having to come in my room. I had bruises on both arms from hands to armpits, plus two more from failed attempts on my right foot. Those veins kept collapsing, rolling, disappearing, and blowing. They were upset I hadn't yet had a PICC line inserted, but on December 27th, the day before my initial release, the Resource team finally came up to put one in.
I was terrified! I knew that the line went straight to my heart and that if I picked up the wrong infection in the PICC, given my history of heart defects at birth and now MRSA-pneumonia, the outcome could be very unfortunate. Yeah. I was scared.
Plus I'm just a weeny, and I was scared about the process. I thought it would be painful and scary. In the end, sheer exhaustion went out, and I fell asleep after the 20-minute procedure began. Heh.
On the 28th after a week in the hospital, I was released to Rob's care. Immediately after I left the hospital, we crossed the street to visit the Infectious Diseases specialists who had now been called in on my case. They taught Rob how to administer my Teflaro (ceftaroline fosamil), the antibiotics I'm getting via infusion in the PICC line, which are keeping me alive and steering me toward better health. They taught Rob how to do the 30-second alcohol cleaning of the port site, the saline flushes before and after the antibiotic is administered, and the heparin lock at the end. I could tell Rob was nervous, but only because he cared so much to get it right.
And he has.
After I came home and had my emotional homecoming with my little family, I got the best gift! Look at all these eggs our six remaining chickens have laid! One of them lays brown eggs, and now we have an olive layer giving us those high-protein green ones! The girls seem to think the olive layer is my white silkie, Athena. Yay! (The flavor of her eggs is going to have to be an acquired taste, I think; I didn't quite like the omelet Rob made for me with them, but I know they'll be great in cookies and cakes, etc.)
Apparently, there is a third layer out there, putting out white eggs, but her first and only egg so far was weak and broke easily before it could be stored. Rob and I went to the feed store yesterday to talk to the chicken experts there about fortifying her diet to help her make stronger eggs. Hopefully that helps.
Unfortunately, on the night after my initial release, on the 29th, I had a seizure on the couch in front of my family. Rob says I was aware of it and asked, "What the hell just happened?" after it ended a minute later, but I don't remember that. He jumped on the phone and called up the nurse line at the hospital to get advice. During the call, I had a second one in my sleep. He hung up the phone then, saying, "Never mind, I'm bringing her to the ER right now."
I don't remember that trip at all.
What I do remember was being absolutely shocked when they told me I had to be readmitted to be observed for these seizures, since my neurologist had already documented my having a history of possible seizure disorder, with absence seizures. I was astounded at this readmission. The last time I remember feeling this shocked in my life was when I was 30 weeks pregnant and the OBs at - wait for it - the Naval hospital in Portsmouth, Virginia, told me that I was in pre-term labor with the twins. I remember begging them to make it stop, couldn't believe this was happening so early, and I felt those same feelings return on this past December 29th. I'd just been released after a week, FPS! Shocked.
The neurologist on duty, Dr. Miller, came to see me and called Rob from my hospital room. He asked Rob to come in right away and stay with me in the hospital during a 24-hour EEG. I had had another seizure in the ER, I just remembered, the tail-end of which Rob was able to catch on his phone's video camera. All the docs were looking at it. That probably forced my admission right there. Thanks, Hon. ;)
Rob set up the kids at home to be safe and independent for the next 24 hours, and then he joined me for a night in the hospital. Twenty-five, I think, electrodes were glued to my head, I was hooked up, and off we went for the next 24 hours. Rob was sleeping when I hit the "I've had an event" button for the first time. Or maybe he had run home. I don't remember. It was an absence episode, I thought. I could feel my temperature climbing higher and higher, and then I was suddenly wondering where I was. I hit the button.
My awesome nurse, Kaitlyn, was there in a split second. Like, so fast I thought she'd been waiting outside the door just for this moment, and several others joined her. I explained what had happened, and I was sorry to bother her, but she reassured me that I had done exactly the right thing.
The next morning, my next nurse, Clarinda, hit the button after another absence, a staring episode, when she came in to give me my morning meds. I don't remember that.
After the 24 hours were up, Dr. Miller and my neuro agreed that the two absence episodes were not electrical in nature, but they wanted another 24 hours on the EEG to try and capture a convulsion event like the one they had seen on Rob's phone. I asked Rob to go home, ready the kids for another day by themselves, and pick up the tamales I had ordered from a girl off Facebook. Ha! I have been missing my friend Domenica's tamales, from Miami, all these months. I was hoping these would make up for it. I thought they were a decent (but distant) second, but nothing touches whatever special touch Dome and her family put in theirs. Sophia loved them. Rob thought they were okay. Chloë didn't care for them, and Jack wouldn't touch them. But he never did, even in Miami. He doesn't eat much anyway.
Rob brought me some tamales, these, in the hospital. They were 10x better than hospital food any day of the week, even though I was no longer on the Dysphashia 2 diet, that's for sure!
I spent New Year's Eve with Rob in the hospital. Rob temporarily left to bring Chloë to a NYE party a church friend's house, and he brought Sophia and Jack to the hospital so they could ring in the new year with us. I ended up being severely tired when Rob went to pick up Chloë from her party, and I don't remember the midnight hour. I guess I was awake? Rob says I was, but I don't remember it.
Sometime that night, Rob hit the button after I had a convulsion. For the third time that button was pressed, nurses were instantly filling the room, blinding bright lights went on, and a loud alarm sounded. I don't remember the absences, I don't remember the convulsions, but I sure as hell remembered that!
Dr. Miller came in in New Year's Day. Happy 2018! He informed us that my neuro had been the one reading my EEG over the 48-hour test, and he had determined that none of these three episodes were electrical. Meaning, they were not epileptic, I did not have to take Keppra or any other epilepsy-related meds, and I could return to driving safely.
So what was going on?
According to my neuro and Dr. Miller, I was mostly having PNES, or Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures. They were probably psychiatric in nature, stemming from some unknown stressor or trauma. They wanted to bring in the Psych team to evaluate me, but I informed them I am already being followed by Psych for my Bipolar I, PTSD, etc. from my many years of childhood trauma. I was again stunned by this diagnosis, but I have an idea what may be behind these episodes. I've been putting off dealing with it in therapy for years - two decades, actually - but now I think it must be time. It's coming out whether I want it to or not. Ugh. This will not be fun.
Anyway, the EEG tech came in to remove all the electrodes from my head, and I was released shortly thereafter, on New Year's Day.
So, as it turned out, yes, Chloë, I will be home for our 17th anniversary on the 2nd. Woot, woot! We had had these two bottles of champagne for Christmas. Those went unused. They also went unused on New Year's Eve. Finally, Rob popped the cork on our anniversary. I took a sip - barely breathing in the bubbles - and had about enough. Rob finished the bottle the next day. We haven't been able to celebrate much, barely even able to kiss due to the health risks, but we'll get there.
We'll get there.
Unfortunately, right when I came home, we had the first full moon of the month - of the year, in fact. Whatever you may or may not want to believe, those of us who suffer chronic pain illnesses like mine (call it Post-Treatment Chronic Lyme Disorder, call it Fibromyalgia, call it whatever you wish) often suffer the most during the full moons. This is the TENS unit I bought a while back on Amazon.com. It works like a horse, but it's not powerful enough. I often max it out on these worst-pain days.
My doctor put in a medical request for a prescription-level TENS unit through my insurance, but they don't cover these devices. This one would have cost $150, which I didn't want to spend, but finally this month, after all this illness and now on top of that, extreme pain, I relented. I've been sitting here throughout the writing of this post, on the couch, with the prescription TENS unit working on my knees and the Amazon unit working my ankles. If I had four or five more, I might be set, because this picture showing the first time I tried it on my wrists was a total game-changer. Sadly, right now I already have the prescription TENS device on max power.
So... now what? Now what do I do? Other than taking pain meds, muscle relaxers, anxiety meds (sometimes helps, even when I'm not even feeling anxiety, to reduce the pain level), using both TENS devices on max, bringing in my most powerful Essential Oil concotions, and, when all else fails, crying and rocking in pain on my couch? I don't know. I have had many lidocaine pain-relief injections throughout my back, in Miami, and that helped a great deal. Guess I'll ask my primary care doc for another referral to Pain Management.
I'm sorry if I seem to be whining here, now, but I'm freaking 41 years old and I feel so trapped in this broken body and mind. I am so thankful for my über-supportive husband and fantastic kids who have gone out of their ways to try to be helpful to me since I came home from the hospital. So thankful.
Yesterday, on Friday, I had to return to the hospital. Thankfully, this was for a scheduled Upper GI Series of scans for that swallowing study and to see what's going on with the problems I'm having with my gastric bypass, and not for another admission. I felt pretty comfortable (and maybe kinda cute for the first time in ages, haha) in these scrubs and really wanted to keep them! I didn't, though. Maybe I'll get some just for funsies.
Did not like that test, by the by. I was on a table, drinking first a bubbly solution that made me burpy, then the delicious barium "shake," then a pill that got stuck in my throat while I couldn't even feel it there... all while they rotated the table up and back, up and back, and capturing the whole thing on video. The power of fluoroscopy! My bariatrics doc will review those results with me on Monday, we'll go from there.
I literally see a medical professional nearly every day, right now. It's getting a little old, y'all! But I'm being compliant.
Last night, the girls and I headed to nearby Downtown Boise to watch the movie Pitch Perfect 3. We've watched PP and PP2 together before, so we were all excited to go out and watch. Hell, I was just thrilled to be "allowed" out again with my baby girls! The movie was hilarious, by the way, and I died laughing the whole time. Gotta love Fat Amy! Rebel Wilson is such a scene stealer!
Since my second return home from the hospital, I've even taught Chloë how to take care of my Teflaro infusion when Rob hasn't been able to be here to do it. She's so careful! This morning, when Rob had to leave to take Sophia to her showjumping lesson, she did the entire thing by herself for the first time. I was so proud of her. She didn't know what I was doing when I took this, but when the snap took, she muttered, "Are you really taking my picture right now?" Ha. Yes, loves, because I was proud of her for doing such an excellent job and being so attentive.
So for now, here I sit. Yesterday, having my GI test done, running errands with Rob, and then going to the movies with my daughters... I admit I probably overdid it. I'm feeling a little worse for wear today. But not awful. I'm taking it easier today, watching TV, eating a pizza Rob picked up, and running my TENS machines. I have made no resolutions for 2018, unlike in past years, but I have the hopes for a healthier year - both mentally and physically - and learning how to take it easy and somehow figure out a way to relax.
Hello, Internet Friends! Welcome back. I'm sick as hell, so I have no fun intro thoughts right now. I'll try and save all my witticism for the actual questions. With that, link up here if you're joining us this week!
Last week we talked about things that bug us. This week (and maybe next), how about things that we like about the holidays.
1. What’s your favorite thing about the holidays?
Of all the things we - personally, as a family - do during the month of December, the best favorite thing about it is family together time. When we're not, you know, arguing over stupid bullshit. LOL.
2. Do you send out Christmas cards and if so how many do you send?
Yes, I always send out cards. It's a thing I must do. This year I'm late and just got them in the mail yesterday. Except for the dozen or so still sitting here because I've run out of stamps and haven't bought more yet. This year, I'm sending out 75, which is about par for the course for us. Wanna get a card from us? I'd love to send you one. But I need your address. Promise I'm not a stalker. ;)
3. Be honest: holiday newsletters. Love ‘em or hate ‘em?
I hate the ones that are like, brag brag brag, with an extra-heavy dose of brag. You feel me? I've never written one, but every year I'm tempted to send one and just be real with shit. For example, and this is all not related to this year, "In January, I forgot to pay the electric bill and we damn near froze to death... In July, Sophia was riding her horse who decided to turn at the last moment and bucked Sophia off, breaking her wrist..." etc. You know? Funny, because it's real.
4. Be honest: photo cards. Love ‘em or hate ‘em?
This is ours this year. Obviously, I'm in the love 'em category. However, admittedly, this one was not my best work. For one, Chloë was cropped out of the picture in the top left, which sucks big time. Secondly, it's just kind of meh and boring. But it got done, I could cross it off my list, and so there's that. But yes, I really do like getting (and sending) them.
5. How soon do you start shopping?
I start shopping whenever I find a hot deal on something I know a person wants and I concurrently have the dollahs to do so. Like my Christmas cards, I started a bit late this year.
6. Real or fake tree?
Well, ideally, I'd love to have a real Christmas tree. However, I don't think in all our years of marital bliss that we have had anything but a pre-lit artificial tree. And we have the cats. And the puppies. So planning our tree placement is rather difficult. This year, no tree (so far, but I'm working on it, Zippi!), so no problems! (But real would be nice.)
7. When do you put up your tree?
It's against my religion to put up the tree before Thanksgiving is over. Preferably, the first of December or later for me. I don't really care when everybody else does it, though, and I enjoy looking at everyone's Christmas décor!
8. When do you take down your tree?
Ideally, by New Year's Day. I'm not a Scrooge or anything, I just don't like dragging things out forever and a day.
9. Describe your typical tree (size, decorations, type)
It's usually about 7-8 feet tall, pre-lit, chock full of ornaments that represent our entire life histories - both separately and jointly - and usually strewn with that tinsel stuff you have to blow upward to get to the top of the tree. I try, annually, to collect a new angel-themed ornament in memory of my son Robby, and those must always go toward the top of the tree. We also have an angel Christmas tree topper. All of this is in a box somewhere (or three boxes, or maybe four), because we haven't really gotten our Christmas on this year in a big, showy way.
10. What do you top your tree with?
I already answered that, oopsy. An angel. It changes, though.
11. Do you put Christmas lights outside your house?
Usually, but that's a job delegated to Hubs, and I haven't been able to get Hubs to do that deed this year. Yet.
12. Is there a wreath hanging on your door?
Right now, we have this bell thingamabob on the front door in lieu of a wreath. It'll do for this year, its second or third appearance for us, but I think I'm going to get a nicer, real wreath next year. I get bored of things like this, shown over and over.
13. Do you hang up stockings?
These are ours, right now, at this moment. So yes. I made the white one. That's Robby's.
14. Your favorite Christmas Movie(s):
I don't even really know. I've never sat down and watched Elf, A Christmas Story, It's A Wonderful Life, or much else that makes me feel like a bad... Christmasser. OH! WAIT! I know. It's Miracle on 34th Street. I adore that flick.
15. Be honest: A Christmas movie you don't like:
I liked Home Alone, but I've seen it umpteen million times and now I'm sick of it. So I guess I'll choose that one.
16. Favorite Christmas Song(s):
Really, my favorite Christmas song is The First Noël, because that was my mother's favorite, but Rob's is Little Drummer Boy. I stumbled across this African tribal version last night and absolutely loved it. I suggest giving it a listen!
17. Be honest: If I hear this/these Christmas songs again I will throw up:
I haven't really heard it this year (yet?), but I have memories of lots and lots of Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer from my childhood, which mostly sucked, and so I'm no longer a fan. That's pretty much it. I actually love Christmas music.
18. Give or Receive?
I definitely prefer to give! The above collage is from December 3rd of this year, because I had things to give, all wrapped up and waiting... If you know me, I just about EXPLODE with anticipation and giddiness over giddiness, and so... we opened everything we had already in the house so far in the year on that date. I'm trying so hard not to do it again! Hee.
19. Eggnog or Mulled Cider?
I used to be an eggnog girl all the way, but now... I'm more into the mulled cider. Yum!
20. Ham or Turkey?
EWW, ham. Never liked that crap even before I became a strict vegetarian in 2005. Ew EW EWW! Sorry if you're a fan. Turkey is not as obnoxious (to me), but obviously I can't eat that, either. So give me some hummus and we'll all be happy, 'kay?
Well that was fun. I'm feeling festive now. Except for looking at that ham and bananas crap (who does that?!). Here's hoping y'all have a lovely Sunday!
Hey, everyone! I hope you're having a jolly December so far. We have been, but in a delightful turn of events, I have another, mostly-unFacebooked rash of illnesses and things going on, AND I'm "good ol' regular sick" on top of that, so I'm feeling like poo today. And we have a Christmas party to go to at a neighbor's church, which I am so not feeling, but I'm going to muster up the effort to get in the shower and get ready for it soon.
1) This song is about a woman who loves singing along with her car radio. Is that something you enjoy?
So this is a video we made - it's utterly ridiculous and awful, and we know it - a year or two ago. I think two. Yeah. Anyway, I believe we sing along to the radio in some of it. Yes, it is one of my true loves, actually!
2) The video begins with Maren Morris finishing her cigarette before getting behind the wheel. Do you allow smoking in your car?
Ha. Yeah, right. If it were up to me, there would be no smoking allowed in the world. Period!
3) In this song, Maren admits she's lied. What's the last fib you told?
I just lied about an hour ago, to a mystery shopping scheduler. I lied about the recent I didn't get a shop's report in on time. Heh.
4) She mentions having her radio on the FM dial. Are you loyal to a single radio station? Or do you spin the dial?
In the car, I change the station all the time. I can't stand listening to people jabbering on radio. In the house, I generally keep it streaming on one station on my computer all the time, wishing I could change stations when the jabbering starts!
5) Maren was inspired to write this song while on a long car trip from Nashville to Los Angeles. When do you get your best ideas?
I've always maintained I do my best thinking in the shower. It's true! 6) She performed this song on Saturday Night Live last year. The host that week was John Cena. Do you follow professional wrestling?
That ^^^ is in response to all the WWF memes I tried to explore before settling on this fact that I didn't understand a single one of them! Because no, I don't follow it.
7) In 2016, when this song was popular, Alex Rodriguez played his final Major League Baseball game. He has embarked on a second career as a broadcaster. Would you be comfortable on camera?
No, not me! But my 16-year-old daughter, Chloë, has been acting since she was five years old. She's as shy as I am in real life - maybe more so - but when the camera turns on her? She's a natural. (This is from a short film she was featured in in 2009, called Boom.)
8) A 2016 study revealed that 43% of Americans own mutual funds, many in their 401(k)s and IRAs. Are you involved in the stock market?
Nope. I've often thought about educating myself on such matters - financial matters are not my intellectual forte - but then I see things go so badly for so many people very quickly and think, "nahhh."
9) Random question: You have something awkward and embarrassing that you simply must tell a pal. You know your friend will not be happy with the news. Would you prefer to deliver it by email, in a phone call, or face to face?
Email or text. Or Facebook messenger, whatever. I get anxious with face-to-face and phone conversations. C'est la vie!
Welp, time to go get ready for that party. I'm feeling a little bah-humbuggy about it, but only 'cause I'm sick...
This was me today: SLEEPY. I don't know why; it's been a very sleepy week for me since last weekend. Hoping to rev up tomorrow!
Have you ever been so happy you felt invincible?
Actually, yes: The day Hubs and I eloped, nothing could stop us. That's the reason for this blahg's link byline: You and Me Against The World. Unfortunately, it only shows up as "...wo," and I can't change it, or I'd lose all my connecting link-ups!
Would you ever refer to something as ‘bitter sweet’?
Aside from these candy hearts? Actually, yes. I will be posting about this more next month, but giving birth to two beautiful, identical baby boys and then losing one twin was absolutely a bittersweet time for me. #Understatement
Is there a person in this world you don’t think you could ever figure out?
Probably, but it's not my job to try to figure people out. I either like them or I don't.
When was the last time you were freaked out?
The last time I was freaked out was a little embarrassing: We were at the horse farm where my daughter Sophia takes showjumping lessons. Her horse was lame, so she was walking him around the pasture to eat grass. I parked myself under a nearby tree for the time being. Right after I sat down, a black-and-white lizard came up out of the grass and bolted toward me, and then behind me, and then crawled up my right arm from the back! I was wiggling and screaming, and people were watching me! I couldn't help but laugh at myself after that!
Do you learn from ‘every’ mistake you make?
I make a ton of mistakes. Sometimes, more than once, sometimes even bigger than the first time, and then I learn the lesson. So... maybe?
Do you sometimes think that you’re too nice?
Absolutely. At home, I'm not at all, but out in public, I can be a bit of a doormat. I get accused of this all the time. But when I feel I am wronged, then I speak out, in a BIG way.
Is there something you’re dying to tell someone?
Yes, but referring back to the previous question, I will never tell ______ that he is truly an asshole. I just may not mourn terribly when he dies.
Do you think you have a unique name?
Ha. Melanie? Not so much, but people seem to have a devil of a time either pronouncing it when they read it, or spelling it when they ask for it!
Do you usually try to find the good in people?
Absolutely. That is my whole MO, my quest in this life: Find the good - and BE the good - in everything. Sometimes I fail, but I try again. Always.
Do you look back on embarrassing moments and laugh about them?
Generally, yes, unless there was something hurtful about it.
Have you ever laughed just to save yourself from humiliation?
I do try, but as Hubs can attest, I dwell on those things for the next 20 years.
What are you doing in 2 hours?
Hopefully, by then, I'll have cooked an amazing vegetarian meal. And so, eating??
What is the last thing you ate?
We received some more beautiful kohlrabi from our local organic farm, in our latest CSA share, so I bugged Hubs to make chips out of it. I ate them ALL. Every last one. In my belly.
Do you love your job?
Mom to these three S'mores-munchin' knuckleheads? I LOVE it! ♥
When is the last time you showered?
I took a bath yesterday, so Friday, I guess. I'm due.
Who is the last person you texted?
Sophie's riding instructor at the farm, Dani, to let her know we'd be there yesterday. Oops, she was supposed to be there again today, but I forgot! :O
When is the last time you were in a hospital?
Last week, on Wednesday, I took a friend to the ER. She was deadly sick. Turns out, she has the flu. Now I'm trying to come down with it, or so it seems. Nooo... I don't have time for The Sick!
The last time you went out to eat, what did you order?
The last time we had food out, I ordered a bean burrito from Taco Bell. Does that count?
Do you tend to have a lot of those moments where you forget something that you wanted to say?
ALL. THE. TIME. I am the queen of saying jacked-up things. Ask Hubs. It's a longstanding family joke.
How long have you known the last person you text messaged?
Well, since that was the afore-mentioned fluishly sick friend, I guess about a year. She's still sick, poor thing.
Will this week be a good one?
Definitely. I intend to make it so.
Anything happen to you within the past month that made you really happy?
It's been a slow news month, but the kids have been in the kitchen doing a serious amount of cooking and baking for the family. It brings me great joy that they are learning so much from their dad and me about not just academic subjects, but also how to take care of themselves at home and in the world around them.
Do you prefer to take showers at night or in the morning?
Whatever time I wake up, I prefer to shower. Except today. Today, I haven't.
Have you been to New York City?
I was born near NYC, and my whole family is from NYC (both sides), so I have spent a great deal of time there, actually. Mostly Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island. Less time in Brooklyn and Queens, but I've been there, too.
So, it's been busy around here, and Thanksgiving was over a week ago, but here I am posting about it just the same.
Let's see, what happened?
My dad came to visit from South Carolina. Only, instead of arriving on Wednesday night like he had originally told me, he got here on Monday afternoon! Eek!
Victoria came to stay with us for the same week as well, because her mom, Veronica, was in the hospital giving birth to this little cutie:
Melodie-Grace, born 25 November 2014
I was kind of a wreck during that whole week (but I dutifully took my bipolar meds and tried my best to keep myself together), because:
1. We all had the flu,
2. Chloe ended up with pneumonia,
3. My dad was visiting us in Miami for the first time,
4. He's a total neat-freak,
5. My house is a perpetual mess,
6. I had a ton of cooking and baking to do for Thanksgiving,
7. There's this humongous side-drama bullshit going on simultaneously that few people know about, but I don't really want to go into right now.
It was fun, to say the least...
All Dad wanted for the week was some beautiful Miami weather, as a respite from the 30s he was experiencing back home in Aiken. Tuesday, he got his wish, so we went over to Biscayne National Park, which my kids have nicknamed "Remora Beach," and had a little bit of fun and a photo shoot.
Victoria joined us at Remora Beach, and the kids really just wanted to play in the water. Dad did not: it was pretty cold! And, like me, he is not fond of the cold. So, we did a little of that and a little walking around the park as a compromise to the children.
Despite having pneumonia, Chloe felt well enough to get off the couch and go with us. That day, anyway, was not bad... but I shouldn't have let her. She spent the next three days after that in complete misery, crying and barfing and aching and not eating and ugh! She lost a full pound, and for a tiny 13-year-old, it was a pound she could ill afford to lose.
We walked around the whole lagoon area, and the kids stopped and exclaimed multiple times over the fishies swimming in and around the mangroves. Sophie tried to tell me that she saw a barracuda, but having snorkeled with them myself many times, I simply did not believe her. I'm glad I didn't say as much out loud, though, because I would have eaten my words:
It was only a juvenile, but there it was, in living color, right in front of me! Oops. Sorry, Sophie.
Dad wanted me to take photos of him for his online dating profile. He's looking for his soulmate in his 70s, and I agreed to help him out!
On Wednesday, we were going to go to the pool, but it turned a little chillier, and Chloe became sicker, and I needed to bake my pies. We didn't, therefore, go.
Thursday, of course, was Thanksgiving Day. We don't have television service, so we couldn't begin my favorite way and watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. However, my high school alma mater's current marching band performed in the parade, and they were pretty good!
It's actually C.W. Baker High School, not Baldwinsville HS, but close enough, eh?
We had a pretty good Thanksgiving feast with homemade everything. Can I tell you what it was, for posterity's sake? Good, I'm gonna:
Mimosas, for the adults (OJ for the kids)
Bacon & eggs
Banana Muffins with Sugar & Spice Butter
Lemon-Raisin Scones with Cranberry-Orange Butter
Spinach Ricotta Dip on Crostini
Pickle & Olive Plate
Mixed Cheeses and Crackers
Rob's Famous Turkey and Gravy
Wine/Sparkling Grape Juice
Cheddar-Pepper Biscuits with Thyme-Shallot Butter
Dutch Apple Cream Pie
Pumpkin Pie with whipped cream
Strawberry Mascarpone Custard
I have to give credit to the November 2014 issue of Martha Stewart Living for several of the recipes, as well as for the front door decoration at the top of this post.
I love that woman!
Anyway, Dad left with a cold of his own (sorry, Pop!) on Friday morning instead of Saturday as planned. Maybe he'll come back, maybe we scared him off? I don't know.
All I know is, I am now hungry and all that yummy food is gone.
I hope you all had a lovely holiday with your loved ones, too.
It's 0404 on a Tuesday morning, and I can't sleep - partly because I'm coming off a 5-day migraine in which I slept a TON, and partly because, well, I never sleep at night anyway. And I've got a lot on my mind right now, so prepare ye for a massive, totally random brain dump:
I'm really trying to rev up my Jafra business so that I can promote to Manager later this year. Really bad timing, considering we're going to move soon, but the exciting part is I have K joining my team soon! On the Saturday after next, we're having a Jafra spa party at her place, complete with smelly-good foot soaks, mud masks and way more, and whatever we earn at her party is going in to placing HER first order and getting her case. She's excited, I'm thrilled, and it's going to be a great send-off for me and instantly-built clientele for her. Yay!
Oops, I just realized I have two logos in that picture. Meh. It's a two-fer.
We visited my friend Saritah and her family last week, and we're going again the last week of February - along with Jenny from the Block and her kiddos, whom we haven't seen in ages upon ages. Trés fun! I have presents for both of them, so I hope I don't forget to bring 'em. Plus, Chloë is "in love" with older son Sebastian, and Sophia is "in love" with younger son Trevor, so Saritah and I are planning future double weddings. Sophie and Trevor have even locked themselves in his closet and smooched on the cheek already! What! I have to stop playing with that cute baby up there, Tempe, and pay attention to the rest of those rapscallions!
(holy huge picture that won't let me scale it down... awesome)
We're supposed to be moving to Miami right around March 1st, and I'm kind of totally freaking out about it, because we are not even remotely ready. Still to do: clean up this house, our rental, so we can move the remaining at-least-half of our crap out of the old house, which we still own, into it; get the old house cleaned up and listed for sale post-haste; set a date for the movers to come; freakin' FIND a place to live in Miami - hello, apartment managers? Returning my phone call and/or email requests for information would be a good thing, 'kay? - and, gosh, that's enough for starters. Rob thinks we won't move in time. I'm stubborn as hell about that March 1 deadline, but I'm starting to agree with him. Cue major sad face.
Oh, and considering each of us is something of a medical marvel, once we do find a place to live, I have about 27 bazillion doctors to find and appointments to make!
I have a cold. Make that aNOTHer cold. Like, my third in 2013. Plus, I'm coming off a five-day migraine (post-publish read-through realization: oh. I told you that already. Meh. It's another two-fer) in which I did a lot of lying around in bed and not much else. With that, moving, building my business and everything else, it's like, WHAT homeschooling?! so far this month. I feel pretty shit-tastic about that. Well, we'll be making up for it by doing lots of school this summer, in between beach visits and dips in the pool.
Rob's last day in the United States Navy is on Valentine's Day! Squee! We're not having a party, since no one could be bothered to come to his 40th birthday party in August, but don't think we won't be celebrating. Horizonta---um, TMI. ;) He has been counting down the days by telling me how many times left he has to shave, cut his curly locks, press his uniforms, and so on. I think the man is excited, y'all!
Every Sunday, we have a family meeting. Someone different runs it each time, but the agenda is always the same:
1. Calendar, wherein we go through everyone's plans for the upcoming week,
2. Compliments and appreciation, wherein every person goes around and pays everyone else some C and/or A,
3. Allowance, which is everybody's favorite part,
4. Snack, which almost always involves a drive (for me) to 7-Eleven, and,
5. Fun activity, which for the last two weeks has been a gross-out contest!
Anyway, at this past Sunday's Family Meeting, my #2 for Rob was thanking him for 20 years of service to our country, and congratulating him on his terminal leave, which starts Friday. Chloë responded by throwing her arms around Daddy and sobbing happy tears. It was a very touching moment.
I have been super busy teaching coupon classes this month. So far, I have taught one at the library, 3½ "personal sessions" at various folks' homes, and taken one friend and her daughter on a shopping trip to see how I do it in real life. Total women taught so far: eight! With at least that many more to go before we move. I'm not charging much, either, so the personal satisfaction I get from imparting my money-saving knowledge and helping these women and their families out is what's really paying me. Warm fuzzies all around!
This is just a gratuitous kids-in-the-sun photo, because I like to close with an image. There's more on my mind than all this, but that seems like enough to dump on y'all for the time-being. Can ya keep some good thoughts for us that we'll be able to get out of here and move to Miami as close as possible to our self-imposed deadline? For my sanity's sake? Thanks. Much appreciated.
First order of business for this first post of January:
We watched the ball drop via online streaming, did our annual husband-and-wife-new-year-smooch, went outside with the kidlets to bang pots and pans and ensure the neighbors' hatred (not really) (gosh, I hope not), eat some snackies, and that was our annual tradition.
So... I have good news! I've spent the last, oh, 19 days something like this:
Hehe. That makes me laff. But as of TODAY, it seems, I can proclaim myself well. As in, completely, 100%, all entirely much better!! Whatever was amiss, is now, um, miss? Unamiss?
Woot!!! Way to ring in 2012!! Like you wanted to know, but I haven't gone ONCE all day (Saturday), let alone unintentionally in my bloomers. *ahem* (Did I just say that out loud? What can I say? I was sick, y'all.)
And also, Rob was in the backyard and found these carrots in our garden, and we ate them, and they tasted so sweet and delicious! At the end of December! Crazysauce!
So I spent much of the day hexipuffing away and racking up Swagbucks "watching" videos, but tomorrow, New Years Day (okay, so like, today), I'm going to finally get off my arse and CLEAN and un-wreck this house. Oh, the hexipuffs:
There are 64 there, but I've just cast on for #66... and lots more to go! I love the total randomness of the color scheme. Never did done that before, nope nope nope!
So. 2012. More tomorrow, I've got a hexipuff on the needles and it's begging for finishing. I resolve to do that before I sleep!
Happy New Year to you all, and to all a good night. Righty-oh!
Hey, remember when Jack was about 3½ and I made these freakin' cute sweaters? I did a dumb thing: instead of keeping them for MY children, I sold them on eBay for way less than they were worth. I could still kick myself!
Here's baby Sophia wearing the same cabled and bobbled sweater. I know! Can you believe that's really her?! She has changed SO much since she was a baby, one can scarcely recognize her. Even her own mother. Crazy.
Here's the other one. I just did a search for them on Mary Maxim, where I originally got the kits, but they no longer seem to be available there. Shame. I mean, I still have the patterns (I think?!) and can use any yarns I want, but that doesn't help anyone else, does it?
And again, Sophie modeling the same get-up. I have to laugh, because I remember intentionally not wanting her to stand up on the chaise lounge, there, but you couldn't keep her down! The kid walked at seven months (!!) and has been on the move ever since.
Hrm, well, a quick-but-extensive search online didn't turn up an alternate source, so... that stinks. I hope they're still available somewhere, because they're super-cute, right?
Anyway. I'm still deep in the midst of my illness that's been going on since the 12th, so not a lot going on here today. I might look at a magazine or two. Exciting, right?
Hiya, fellow fragmenting folks! Link up here if you're into bits 'n' pieces today! Thanks for hosting, Mrs. 4444. ♥
So I haven't blogged much this week, not like more than a handful (a small handful, like a lemur's hand. Wait, a lemur's hand? Nevermind...) of people noticed, but I did change the blog header. Do ya like it? I didn't mean to include myself in there, but I couldn't figure out how to center the kids' picture, and I didn't want all that blank space, so... there I am! But the kids, so cute, right??
Mrs. 4444 asked for a health update on my hubs. So here it is: We saw Neuro on Wednesday, and he was in and outta there in five minutes or less. Basically, his spinal MRI was all clear, and they ruled out the Von Hippel-Lindau disease, so that's good. He's still having headaches sometimes, but they're fewer and farther between, if not more mild. So the current treatment will just involve maintenance for that, and occasional monitoring of the benign tumor (cavernous angioma) in his cerebellum. Pretty good. Guess I can stop lining up potential future suitors and counting my life insurance money now, right? (I jest, I kid, I josh, I joke!!)
So I've been hexipuffing these last coupla days. What's a hexipuff, you ask? Why, here are four I've done:
So if you can't tell from the pictures, they're little knitted hexigon-shaped pockets stuffed with a wee bit of fiberfill, and then when you've made enough, you sew them together to make a kind of hexipuff quilt, AKA the Beekeeper's Quilt, as seen here. Cool, huh? I like making them. It doesn't take long to make one, or use up a lot of yarn, so I'm addicted to doing it when I have a down moment (okay, and sometimes when I should be doing eleventy-billion other things, like, um, always...)
Do you have pets? Love 'em? Take pictures of 'em sometimes? Go answer my Aloha Friday question here, pretty pretty please! If you have a post, link to it in your comment as well, and I'll answer yours. Thanky kindly!
So I have had a major upset stomach (TMI but we're talking both ends, living in the bathroom) for three days now. It's NO fun, and I feel sooooo weak. It made me miss my Girl Scout meeting for the second meeting in a row, and I felt badly about that until I learned two things (a) everyone was glad I didn't bring my tummy bug to get them all sick and not mad at me, and (b) they ran the meeting with my Daisies anyway, so the girls didn't miss out. Still, I felt like a crappy Leader. Well, pardon the pun...
Here's the (undoctored) photo that didn't make the cut into the blog header. I think I made the right choice. What do you think?
Did you know you could shrink Crocs by putting them in the dryer? True story! Chloë accidentally washed the one on the right and, well, now we're out a pair of shoes, darn it! Funny, though. I guess we'll wash the other one and give them to someone with smaller feet, huh?
So I took the kids to Sears for their portraits (free sitting fee & 8x10, so that's all I'm getting, because hello, we po') on Monday, and it was first thing when they opened, so no one else was there. So why did it take over an hour, and I STILL didn't get to pick my portrait? Because their computer system wasn't functioning properly. Ugh. That was annoying. That picture better be cute, if I ever get back there to choose it.... ;P
(Note that these are the girls' holiday dresses but not Jack's, which was supposed to be here by the 30th, and, uh, it's not. Grr. Grr, Old Navy, I say, grr!)
So I've been lame and kind of giving the kids Christmas presents whenever I feel like it, instead of waiting until the actual Day o' Christmas this year. Anyway, I made this dress and shawl (color combo chosen by Chloë; don't blame me!) for Chlo's new American Girl doll that she got for her birthday. Don't you think Faith looks so cute in it? It was super fast to make, too. I'm going to make her a bunch of outfits so she has a whole wardrobe of hand knits. Hey, I like knitting (and crocheting) on a small scale, what can I say?
Speaking of giving them early Christmas presents, they each got one of these cool nightlight lamp thingies from Discovery Kids. Did I show you these already? Well, I gave them to 'em. It was cool because I asked each one privately, separately, which one they really wanted most, and they each chose a different one! Serendipity, baby!!!
One last pic and then I'll let you be. So I totally got these Webkinz (another Christmas present for the kids, I know, I know) for FREE! Can't beat that. I didn't pay one thin, uh, penny, not even for tax. Can you saw AWESOME? Because that was. And they were happy! Look at the boy! The one who "doesn't know how to smile" is doing a pretty good job of it there, eh?
Okay. That's all I got. Lucky you!! Happy weekend.
The kids all went to camp this past week. Chloë was gone from Sunday thru Friday, while the Littles were gone only Wednesday to Friday night. I planned to use the time to deep-clean my disaster of a house. I was highly motivated. It needs it badly, and I intended to get down on my hands and knees and scrub every square inch.
Well, that didn't happen.
Oh, they went to camp all right. I have no pictures, because I suck, but they all seemed to have had a great experience this year. There's not much to tell: they did camp stuff, like swimming and field games, arts and crafts, and learning new songs. What you would expect to hear, that's what I'd probably tell you.
But I didn't get to clean this monstrosity. I didn't lift even the tiniest pinky.
Because I got freakin' sick instead. The kids were all sick for the prior couple of weeks, so it was inevitable, but that didn't make the timing any less sucktastic. Indeed, they're still getting over their various colds, while I am still in the no-voice, nose-running-like-a-faucet, clogged ears thick of it. I've been quite miserable, and I haven't hesitated to let anyone who wanted to listen know it.
Not many people wanted to listen, so I'm telling you.
Of course, when I'm sick, the house gets even worse than usual. So right now, it's probably the worst, most icky I've ever seen it, and I would like to torch it right down to the ground and/or run away.
Barring that, which I can't do now that I've said that, I'm going to ride out this misery and then come back fighting, to get this house ship-shape. I have to say, though, that I'm disappointed the time when all three kids were gone for two whole days was wasted by me sleeping on the couch for about 27 hours straight. I needed it, but dang.
Aside from resting and more resting (and endless nose-blowing), I've been making stuff for my Etsy shop. I have been stash-busting through my scrapbooking supplies, since I've gone digital on our family books, making cards, tags, and other what-have-yous that you can check out here. If you're interested, use the coupon code "SCRAPPY" to get free shipping on any goods from the paper section of my shop.
I've made a few cards to send out to real people I know, too, like my friend Erin who's gone and gotten engaged, to my total and complete delight. She and her afianced man-friend received this one:
... Hm. I appear not to have taken pictures of it, or if I have, they are gone? Weird. I'm sure I did. Maybe she'll send me one of it to show you later. :D
Also, tomorrow my father will turn 69, and as I feel safe in that he won't be reading this post, I'll show you his card:
You might recognize it if you already peeked at my shop, since I listed it there as well. He's an enormous Elvis fan, so when I found this on a card website, I had to "scraplift" it, as we say in the scrapbooking world. I don't know what card makers say, since I'm a n00b, but I'm sure it's similar. Or maybe it's frowned upon and I'll get busted down a peg or two. Either way, it's already in the mail, and he will like it, so that is that.
There's another card winging its way to another person who reads this blog, maybe, so I can't show you that one just yet. I'm not claiming to be all good at this or anything - I'm just starting out in the card-making venture - but it sure is fun and addictive! I'm having a blast. And I sold a set of six cards this morning on Etsy, so I'm legit, right?
Welp, that's the gist of what's been going on this week. Camp. Sick. Cards. Oh, and endless litterbox cleaning. I've managed that, at least, because if I don't, the two kittens pee and poop wherever the hell they feel like it, and you know what? I can't have that. Groooo-ooooosssss.
So back to work for me. Check out my shop and "favorite" it if you haven't already, please. I check that stat frequently, obsessively, and the number rarely changes. You'd think I'd stop.
Have a great weekend, y'all!
P.S. I lied. I do have two pictures of freshly picked-up Sophia from camp:
"I'm hungry. I'm starving. I'm STARVING...," she whined.
Apparently not as much as she was tired, because this was her within five minutes. She slept more after the hour-long drive home, too. I should send her to camp more often!
And here's an enormous grasshopper that I'm showing you just so I can file it away in July pictures. It jumped on my desk and gave me a start! I called Rob over to rescue me from it, or it from me, depending on your viewof things. Thing was HA-YUGE. He's going to use it as fish bait.
I was so sick all day Friday, and I slept pretty much non-stop. I crashed on the couch early, and except for a short window from about 2-4 AM, I slept until noon on Saturday!
When I finally got up, I felt so weakened and dehydrated. I was really glad that y'all told me not to go donate blood, and that the Red Cross had called me back and told me the same thing. I would have felt guilty otherwise, so thanks for the "permission" to skip it! Hopefully, I'll be able to make that up soon.
The first thing I had to do was go out and do a couple of fast-food shops, the same ones I always do. They pay well, so they're kind of my bread-and-butter mystery shops. I take as many as I can get.
Rob was outside working on his truck, while our three kids and a couple of the neighbor kids played out on their trucks and bikes in the driveway. I had him come in and get Chloë ready for her Scouting activities. She was going to Skills Day with her troop first, where they went to a local park and learned all kinds of camping skills, and then they were going straight from there up to the Air & Space Museum in Hampton for a sleepover.
Rob helped her get her clothes, sleeping bag, dinner and all that together, while I worked on my shop reports. Once we were both ready, Curls and I took off for my first mystery shop. I tried to get her to eat a little of the food, but she started telling me her tummy was upset.
Oh, no. Was she getting the bug, too? Just in time for her sleepover? Not good!! I thought about calling it off for her, but then she asked if she could eat a little of her dinner out of her lunch box. I let her eat some, and she said she felt better, so maybe she was just hungry.
I dropped her off at the meeting place, and I explained that I wasn't sure if she was getting sick, or was just hungry, or what. One of the other moms kind of gave me the what-the-hell-are-you-doing look and "then why are you bringing her here" speech, but I brushed her off. The Troop Leader told me later, "it's okay, I'm not a germaphobe," but I told her she could come after me if Chloë got the whole troop sick! I called and checked up on her two hours later, and Nikki said she seemed perfectly fine and dandy, so hopefully she's stayed fine all night and really did just need a little food in her tiny belly.
From there, I went to the bank to deposit some mystery shopping and mail-in rebate checks (they keep coming! it's like Christmas!) before heading on to my second fast food shop. That went quickly, and I brought that food home to Rob and the Littles. (I really can't keep calling them that, now that Sophia is bigger than Chloë, can I?)
They ate, I worked on my reports, and then they all went back outside to play and work on Rob's truck. After my reports, I wanted to go to church, but Rob was absolutely filthy and in no condition to go. So, sadly, we missed it again. Our next chance is Easter, and boy, I sure hope we do go then! Sheesh.
Sometime during that time, the Little-and-Big had come in to watch Jack's truck video again, and they both crashed HARD on the couch. That was around 1800, and they are still there, nearly 10 hours later! They had all been up playing in their rooms past midnight last night, and apparently they got up around 0700 this morning, so they definitely needed the rest. I haven't given Jack his shot yet, but I'm loathe to do it and wake him up in the middle of his good sleep, so I guess he'll just have to get it in the morning. They do look so sweet down there on the couch, and I love listening to them snoring softly. My sweet babies ♥
I went out to do a third fast food shop for the same company, and then I tried to do a "deal" at Walgreens that wouldn't go through for some dumb reason. I had a store coupon and a manufacturer's coupon for tape, which should stack just fine, but it wouldn't go through. I even called corporate to tell them they weren't letting me do it, and they said they would notify the store of the policy.
So I went home. And I sent Rob out to do the errands I needed done, because he owes me BIG time over some other stuff I won't mention, because I don't want to bitch about my darling, beloved husband here.
He went out to another Walgreens to try to do the deal there, but it still wouldn't work. Don't know why. So eh, that was a bust. Sent him to Family Dollar to get 4 free packs of Lance Crackers, which the kids love. They apparently gave him a hard time, because they were printable coupons (those are getting harder and harder to use, because so many people photocopy them fraudulently), but eventually they let him use them. Of course, I would NEVER copy a coupon or try to pass something that wasn't legit. On my honor! Had him get some juice boxes there, too, so I can pack the kids' lunches next week.
His last stop was at Target. I had given him a coupon for $1.50 off a pillow. He found one for about four bucks, and it seems to be pretty decent. Another coupon for $2 off a $3 solar light for outside, and he found immense pleasure in playing with that once he got it home. He was pretty pleased we got it for only a buck! And there were two coupons for a free bottle of Vitamin water, which we'll take on our trip up to Chantilly tomorrow...
...That is, if I either get some sleep or some caffeine! It's going on 0400 now, and I'm starting to get sleepy but still have tons to do! I think I better make up a pot of coffee.
And now, my friends, you are all caught up. Thanks for sticking with me!
Friday, I didn't sub because I was sick, myself. I'd caught Jack's stomach bug, and I was down for the count.
So that made only ONE day this week that I picked up a subbing job. Kind of sucks, doesn't it? But, it can't be helped, and I'm glad that I have a job with exactly the kind of flexibility I need so I can be there when my kiddos need me.
I was supposed to be volunteering that night at Movie Night, but I called off because there was just no way. I mean, I had it bad. I was miserable. I felt awful. But the good news was, I weighed myself and am now officially in the 160s! Not bad after starting in the 340s! I'm SO excited about that!!
Now, one thing that you may or may not have noticed is, I never mentioned the anniversary of Robby's death. And truth be told, it's because when I was posting all these "Week in Review" updates, I plum forgot about it. And that's right to the point.
I had kind of been feeling guilty all week, because I kept noticing that I wasn't keeping the same sad vigil that I always do, every year, in those three days between the boys' birthday and his death anniversary. It was kind of an afterthought for me this year, and whenever I found myself remembering it was coming up, and realized that I hadn't been thinking about it every waking moment, I felt bad.
But then I thought, why? Why should I feel bad? I certainly don't need a looming date on the calendar to remind me that I have a dead son. I know that sounds awful, but I don't mince words when it comes to Robby. He is dead, he died, he is gone, and to use a pretty euphemism like "he's passed" or "he's gone to live with the Lord" frankly pisses me off. I don't even want to hear it from someone else. My son is dead, and there's no two ways about it.
But I don't need the calendar to remind me of that. I live it every day. Really, realizing that it's not weighing down those three days of my life so heavily is actually quite freeing. I can feel what I want to feel, when I want to feel it. I know that he's gone. I know that he was here. I felt him, I held him in my arms, I watched him catch his last breath. He was HERE. He was REAL. And he's really GONE now. That date, it's just a date.
I don't have to look at the calendar anymore to tell me "these are the days to be sad." I'll feel it when it comes, and if it doesn't come on those days, hey, it's okay. It's just one more step in the process.
Today is Thursday. Sophie is home sick from school with a very upset tummy, poor thing. She came home yesterday and threw up all over. She felt fine this morning, so I sent her to school, but then they called and said she kept running back and forth to the bathroom. Rob went and picked her up, and they said to keep her home tomorrow, too. Poor thing! This Baby Kevin plush from the movie Up! arrived in the mail while she was relaxing on the couch, so I gave it to her for a little sicky present. She loves birds and the snipes from the movie, so it instantly cheered her up. She told me, "I'm the snipe mama!" before she ran with her new toy back to the couch. Incidentally, I got this free - for just the cost of s/h - through Disney Movie Rewards. You should join - the kids have another upcoming free surprise from there, too!
So, I had planned to spend the entire day cleaning, but between the migraine I'm nursing and Sophia being home, I haven't gotten much accomplished at all. I really need to mop the floors, since it's been raining and the dog has been tracking muddy paw prints everywhere... but first, I'll share about yesterday with you. Might as well, since the dog seems to have the runs or something, too! She has been in and out, in and out, and there is nothing worse than mopping the floor only to have it dirtied right up again. Right?
On my way out to do errands, I didn't feel like doing my hair, AND I found these long-forgotten huge gold hoop earrings in my sock drawer. I normally never wear earrings anymore, even though I have four holes in each ear, because I keep having allergic reactions to every pair. Even silver and gold ones. My ears get all gross, and that's the end of that. So just for kicks, I decided to try again and wear these huge earrings with my hair pulled back into a tiny ponytail. This is a horrible iPhone self-pic, but really, it didn't look too bad! A fact that was confirmed when I went downstairs and Rob did a double-take, telling me, "You really are beautiful, you know that?" I melted, of course. No, I don't know that.
The first thing I did was run out to the Navy base to get my tuberculosis test started. If you've never had one, they inject some fluid under the skin on your forearm and then "read" the test two days later. I have to get it done before I can submit my subbing documents, a fact which escaped me last week when I went to go get fingerprinted. The fingerprinting has to be done last, so I still need to go out there tomorrow and do that after getting my TB test finished. The procedure was quick and painless. The nurse-receptionist at the immunizations clinic LOVED my earrings, asked me to give them to her (jokingly, but I should have because they weighed a freaking ton), and told me they looked great on me. I'll have to wear them more often!
Feeling confident about my appearance after two compliments in a row, I headed to CVS to shop the weekly deals, which I'll show you by transaction:
#1: EARinse, which was on sale for $7.99, normally $9.99. I didn't have any ECBs from last week, so I paid the $7.99 OOP, but I got $7.99 back in ECBs for #2. Plus, we can really use this, since Rob and the kids often have problems with their ears.
#2: Almay Smart Balance Foundation, normally $13.99, on sale for $9.99. I had a $2 MQ (manufacturer's coupon) and the $7.99 ECBs from #1, making this free! I just paid 50¢ OOP for tax.
#3: I paid just 68¢ OOP for all this:
5 cans BumbleBee Chunk Lite Tuna, regularly $1.79 each, on sale for 49¢ each. I had a $1 off 5 MQ
Almay Intense i-Color mascara plus FREE bonus eyeliner pencil, regularly $7.99, on sale for $5.99. I had a $2 MQ
Colgate MaxFresh toothpaste, regularly $3.29, on sale for $2.99. I had a 75¢ MQ
PowerBar Strawberry Energy Gel Blasts, regularly $1.69, on sale for $1.50
Plus, I had a $3 CVS coupon for the Almay that stacked with the MQ, which spit out from the red in-store machine (look for it and scan your CVS card every time you go, for more coupons. Yesterday, I scanned my card and got a coupon for $5 off $15 order, but it expires Saturday, so I'll have to go back to use it!) I also had $6 ECBs from #2, making the total just 18¢ plus tax = 68¢. And I got $1.50 in ECBs for #4 from the PowerBar Blasts, and another $2 ECBs from the Almay make-up and $2 ECB from the toothpaste.
#4: This one was a little bit of a bust. This Physician's Formula Bamboo Silk face powder is normally $9.99 and was supposed to be on sale for $6.99. I had $5.50 in ECBs from #3, which should have made this ten-dollar powder just a buck and a half, but it didn't ring up at the sale price. I didn't realize, so I paid the $4.99, but I will return it tomorrow and hopefully get it for the sale price. Good thing the CVS is on the way home from the Navy base where I'll get my TB test read! This transaction gave me back $5 ECBs for #5.
#5 - #8: This actually represents four different transactions. The Air Wick Freshmatic Ultra is normally priced $12.99, but they were on sale for $5.99, and I had two $5 MQs! I got these $13 machines for just 99¢ each!! Sweet. And like I've mentioned before, we can definitely use a lot of air fresheners 'round here to cover up the various pet odors going on.
The Renpure Organic shampoos and conditioners were on sale for $4.99, down from $6.99 normally. I paid full (sale) price, since I had no MQs, but there was a try-me-free MIR (Mail-in Rebate) form on each one that I sent in yesterday. I could have gotten more, lots more, but I didn't know if there was a limit on them. None was mentioned on the MIR form, but I don't want to chance it. So, four free bottles, at least! Chloë uses sh & cond like crazy, so I will stockpile all that I can for cheap or free.
After 8 transactions in a row (although I always let the other customers jump ahead of me when I do that, so they don't have to wait in line forever behind me, rolling their eyes), I could tell the cashier was getting tired. However, she was as nice as could be through it all, and I appreciated it. CVS always has the nicest employees!
In contrast, I went to Walgreens after that, and the cashier couldn't have been a bigger beyotch. She was so snotty to me, telling me I had to get everything in one transaction. I was like, "Um, why?" She told me, "That's just the way we do it." I told her no, it's not, so she called a manager over, who had no problem with me splitting it up. Puh-lease! She just didn't want to deal with the hassle. But I did things my way, and it was cool, so here's what I got:
#1: Theraflu Daytime and Nighttime Severe Cold & Cough, normally $6.49 each, on sale for $5 each. I had two $2 MQs, making my total $6. I had no Register Rewards (RRs) from last time, so that's what I paid. Not the greatest deal, but I saved $6.98, so it's okay. With all the illnesses running rampant in this area - and this house, currently - it's a good idea to be stocking up on this stuff. Plus I got $5 in RRs for #2.
#2: I paid $4.12 OOP for the above, saving $15:
(2) Tylenol Cold Multi-Symptom Rapid Release Gels, normally $7.49 each, on sale for $4.99 each. I had two $2 MQs, making them $2.99 each
Goody Ouchless Hair elastics (which Chloë goes through in abundance, since she takes them out and never puts them back where they belong), normally $3.99, on sale for $2.99
I had $5 in RRs from #1, making my total $4.12 with tax!
The Tylenol spit out $3 in RRs and the Goody bands spit out $2 in RRs, for #3
#3: I paid just $5.57 OOP for all the above, a savings of $48.40:
Kellogg's Smart Start cereal 17.5-oz cereal, normally ??, on sale for $2.50. I had a $1MQ
Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate with Almond bar, normally $2.59, on sale for $1.50. I had a $1-off-2 SQ (Walgreens Store Coupon)
Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate & Peanut Butter bar, normally $2.59, on sale for $1.50, minus the SQ above. (I confess, I had a piece of this, and OMG, it was so good. I threw it up, though, so I gave the rest to the kids!)
(8) various Right Guard deodorants for Rob, normally $3.19 each, on sale for BOGO. I had four $2-off-2 MQs
(2) Trident Layers Gum (great for the Tooth Fairy!), normally ??, on sale for 99¢. I had two 75¢ MQs
Excedrin Extra Strength gel tabs, normally $4.99, on sale for $2.50. I had a FREE product MQ
(2) Excedrin Extra Strengh Caplets, normally $4.99, on sale for $2.50 each. I had two $2 MQs
Plus I had $5 in RRs from #2, making my OOP total just $5.57! Not bad at all.
Does anybody actually read all that? Just curious.
After that, I headed to Farm Fresh to get my money order for fingerprinting on Friday, along with a half-gallon of skim milk. I need that for my protein shakes. I had just had to dump out half of a full gallon of skim that went bad, which is so upsetting. I got the milk for free at Walmart, but still. Waste is waste, and I hate it!! It was also double-dollar Wednesday at Farm Fresh, but there were no deals with which I was impressed, so I skipped it.
Back in the car (another silly iPhone self-portrait), I headed out to Portsmouth to the Naval hospital there, for my second consult with the plastic surgeon. He had told me to come back and talk with him when I decided whether I wanted the abdominoplasty (not free) or the panniculectomy (free). Rob and I opted to use some of our tax money to do the abdominoplasty, since it really wasn't that much money, and I would get much, much better results.
Dr. T. told me that in order to schedule the surgery, I would need to lose a minimum of 15-20 pounds, but to lose as much as I possibly could before the surgery, for best results. Since he's scheduling about a month out before the actual surgery takes place, I plan to lose the minimum, go back and schedule the surgery (and PAY, so that the money isn't sitting there, waiting to be used for something else), and then keep losing more weight in the meantime. The 15-20 pounds isn't daunting to me at all, even when I consider the monthlong stall I just got through. I am going to keep pounding back the protein shakes - and not much else - along with exercise.
Dr. T. also said he wants me to start power walking 30 minutes every other day (I'll have to start tomorrow, I guess), and get up to an hour daily. And he wants me to do strength training, too. I guess the Wii Fit isn't cutting it! He told me about iFitness, an awesome iPhone app that tells you not only how to do all the weight machines and exercises at the gym (which is free for me to go to on base; the bases just aren't close to our house), but also how to use your own body for weight training at home. He has an iPhone too, so he showed me the app, and it really is great. It's only $1.99, so I bought it and will begin using it right away!
We talked about doing other work in the future. I'm really not going to turn into a plastic surgery junkie - I promise - but after losing so much weight, things really just don't look good underneath the clothes! My boobs are hideous, and my arms could be a weapon if I over-jiggle them. Dr. T. said that he could do my boobs anytime I wanted (he even used the word "boobs," twice, hehe), but that I should be at my absolute lowest weight possible for the arms. He said it's his least favorite surgery, because there's no way to hide the scars. Honestly, though, I truly don't care about scars - I just hate the excessive jiggling going on! I already have a ton of scars, so they don't bother me. I'm not trying to pose for Playboy here, after all.
He offered to look at my butt, but I told him I don't care about a butt lift, because I can't see it! Hee. I would do my thighs too, if I could, because they are gross, too. However, all this (the arms, legs and boobs) can wait at least another year, if there's enough money from our next tax refund. I'm in no hurry. It's the belly that absolutely drives me nuts when I look in the mirror. I HATE IT!!
Afterward, I drove home to relieve Rob, who had stayed home to get the kids off the bus for me. I got home in plenty of time to do that, though. When Sophia came home, she was really not feeling well, and she threw up a bunch when we put her on the couch. Poor sweetheart. The kids have all had it this week. We opted to skip dance class for the second day in a row, in order to stay home and let everyone relax.
Chloë started working on her homework, but she could only do a little bit, having forgotten most of it at school! The living room really needed to be picked up, as there were toys and books all over the place, so she took care of that while I helped Jack with the three days of homework he had to do last night. He had stayed home on Tuesday, and never did his HW on Monday, since he wasn't well then. He griped a whole bunch about all the work, and it took 2 or 3 hours, but we got it done.
After the homework - and dinner - were all taken care of, we ran out for a Target run. I needed to get quite a few things, including the pink bins that the stuff above was pictured on, to hold all the toiletry stockpiling! I got a lot more than this (the Soap Buddies, priced at 99¢, were free after the two $1 MQs for any Johnson's baby product; the Renu contact solution, travel size, was 59¢ after $1 MQ. I wear contacts almost every day, so these were a must-have for me), but I didn't get a chance to photo everything. Two deals I missed out on were 8 (!!) of the Scotch Fur Fighter Rollers, priced at $3.99 on sale; I had 8 $4 MQs, but the cashier wouldn't accept them. Bah. Also, Gillette Body Wash 8.4 oz, is on sale for $1.99, and I had two $4-off-2 MQs, which would have gotten me four free, but they were all out. Bah again! Hopefully I can make it over there sometime this week to get those.
I wanted to check out the $5 kids' DVD section for another new DVD or two for the kids' collection. They were on sale for $4.75, so I picked up three: Jumanji, The Swan Princess, and Little Women. Jack and Sophia are watching The Swan Princess right now; Soap is thrilled that the princess's first name is our last name!
Also while there, I needed to return three of the five pairs of jeans (all Mossimo) that I just bought for Rob. They run big and looked ridiculous on him. I bought them off Target.com, but the exchange was no problem once we got a receipt printed out from the in-store kiosk. I found two pairs of Levis jeans in his size, on sale for $19.99, so I picked them up. They're not the color he likes, but he'll just have to deal! He's really small, so his size is hard to find, and they didn't have any left in his color. I hit the clearance rack, too, and got him THREE pairs of khakis for less than 20 bucks! I was sleeping when he came home and tried everything on, so I didn't get to see how they fit. Maybe tonight.
My OOP at Target should have been about $95, but I only ended up spending $59 after all the gift cards I had from the recent deals there, along with a $25 gift card I had for redeeming my MyPoints! Make sure you sign up with them and click on all the emails you get, because I really rack up the points that way, along with using them for the online shopping I do. Love my MyPoints! (I don't know how to post a referral link from them, or else I would. Tell 'em I sent ya!)
After a quick run to the bank to deposit a mystery shopping paycheck and my rebate from Coors Light for the free Thanksgiving turkey, we were home at last. The kids went right to bed, but Sophie came down around 2300. She had napped after throwing up, so she couldn't sleep. I cuddled with her on the couch, and I played her lullabyes on my iPhone's iPod. It put me to sleep, so I was happy when I woke up after a little while and found her snoozing in my arms contentedly. We were still there, sleeping soundly, when Rob came home from work a little later, but sometime during the night, she got up and went to sleep with her daddy. When I asked her why she moved this morning, she told me, "Because I love my mommy AND my daddy." Aww. ♥
We had signed the forms allowing the kids to get the free H1N1 vaccine at school, and today turned out to be the day. The preschool asked me to come in and be with Sophia, taking her home afterward to watch for any reactions. And since Chloë and Jack were getting it too, I stopped in a the main office on Friday to find out what time I should be there.
I got ready to go and arrived at the school just in time for Chloë's class to be in the gym. Not very many kids were there to receive the vax, and no other parent was there to be with their kid. That kind of surprised me. If my kid is going to be injected with something, well, I'm going to be there for them, dammit! I mean... right?!
One of the little girls next door, the daughter of our nice Japanese lady neighbor, was in the gym at the same time as Chloë, since she's a 3rd grader, too. She was looking really scared, almost like she was going to be ill. I offered to hold her hand during the shot, and she readily accepted. She and Chloë sat next to each other, and then - surprise! - they were offered the choice of the shot or the flu mist. Of course, both girls chose the mist, and it was quick and painless for both of them. I hugged two very relieved little girls, kissed Chloë good-bye, and left to go to the preschool.
Only, when I arrived back there, one of the teachers said, "You know we don't go down there until noon, right?" Um, no, I wrote down 1100! What the heck is wrong with me? Oh well, at least I needed to be there anyway for Curls.
So I had an hour wait, and it's only a five minute drive home... so I left. I stopped at Rite-Aid on the way home, to use a $2 off any Rite-Aid beauty or skin care product coupon. I got a tub of dip-in nail polish remover for 21¢! Sweet.
I was going to do laundry when I got home, but I found myself terribly unmotivated to go upstairs and do that... so I didn't. I just farted around and wasted time online until it was time to leave again, 40 or so minutes later.
I arrived at school at five after noon, so I just went straight to the gym, thinking Sophie's class would already be there. But they weren't. They were waiting for me at the class! Oops. We finally realized and made our way down there, just as they were about to give up on me. Sophie was very relieved to see her mommy there again.
Now, I think I've posted here before, but Sophie gets extremely upset about getting shots. I mean, you have to drag her kicking and screaming, holding her down the whole time. It's pretty awful. So I was grateful not to have to go through any of that, right? Wrong. Even though she was getting the up-the-nose treatment, she still freaked out when it was time to sit down and git 'er done.
She cried, she thrashed, she ran away, she hid. I retrieved her and sat her on my lap, and the nurse and I soothed her for at least ten minutes, promising her that it absolutely WOULD NOT HURT. She didn't believe us for a second, and she was terrified. After a long time of trying to calm her down enough to try just one nostril, unsuccessfully, I finally held her arms down with one of my arms, and held her face still with the other hand. She screamed and cried and shoved against me. I hated it. I hate doing that to her.
Of course, it was over in a second, and it was completely painless. But she was mad! And still scared, so she kept bawling for a good five minutes after we went out to the main area to sit and make sure she didn't react to it. I tried to hug her, I tried to hold her and talk to her, but she wouldn't have me. She turned her back to me, wiping away her tears, and there was nothing I could do to console her.
And then, in an instant, her mood changed. She suddenly realized it didn't, after all, hurt a bit, and Mommy hadn't lied to her. She was smiling and playful again, huggy and kissy, cuddling and nuzzling. Phew. That's my girl. Hopefully she'll remember that in a couple months, when it's time to get the second round!
We walked back to the preschool to get her stuff and talk to her teachers. They gave me her progress report, and she's where she should be in all areas. Her behavior in class is excellent (shocker!), and she is well-liked by kids and adults alike. Another teacher, for the other preschool class, told me that she sparkles! That she is the most social, happy, cheerful little thing, and that everyone loves her. Gee... that sounds a lot like someone else I know. Her big sister, maybe? ;)
I took Sophie home (after stopping at Rite-Aid a second time, with a second $2 coupon and getting a huge bottle of liquid soap for less than a buck), and after giving her a series of snacks (that girl is a bottomless pit, I tell ya), we played and fooled around and enjoyed our special little time together. Especially now that Rob is working nights (which should be ending in a week, yahoo!!), it's rare that I get any one-on-one time with any of the kids, so I was grateful for the little bit of time we had.
Soon, it was time to go back for Jack's vaccination. Everyone laughed when I walked back in for the third time. The vax staffers, who don't know me or my kids, kept asking, "Got any more after this?" It seems like I am at the school a lot lately, and that makes me happy. The principal and assistant principal know me and my kids well, and I have a good relationship with both them and all their teachers, as well as many other people in the school. It's a good year, and it's a good school. I'm happy to be part of it.
Jack came in, and he, too, was clingy and worried. I couldn't promise him the flu mist, because I just didn't know their criteria for choosing who was eligible. But it turned out he was, so of course, we picked that! So none of the kids ended up getting a shot, which is great. He was a little nervous, and it was funny, because the little boy next to him was so brave. He actually CHOSE to get a shot and loudly declared, "I like getting shots!" Jack marveled at him; I kind of did, too. Afterward, the little boy was sitting next to us while Jack was watched for a reaction, and he was asking me if Jack was scared. I said he was, and that he wasn't a big tough man like that boy. He puffed up and seemed to enjoy that very much!
Jack wanted to go home with me, but I wouldn't let him, because he was fine and needs the time at school. He's always trying to get out of school, always asking me, "Why do we need to go to school?"
While he was "recovering," I went over and talked to the gym teacher. He and Chloë have had a great mutual admiration for each other, ever since she began kindergarten. So I re-introduced myself, because I don't see him often and probably don't look like the last time he saw me! We chatted about Chloë, and he really seems to think the world of her. We talked about Jack, and he laughingly told me how Jack is not at all intimidated by the bigger kids and charges right into the pack.
After that, we talked about our Life on the Boat plan in a few years, so I could ask him - as I have asked many other people - his ideas for homeschooling the kids. Naturally, I'm concerned about their physical education when we're going to be confined to a small area. Well, he had the most positive reaction to our plans that anyone has had yet, and I was grateful for it. It's hard to constantly defend our choices with no one gung-ho about the idea. But he sure was, and expressed that that's exactly the kind of thing he would love to do, and how amazing an opportunity it will be for the kids. He even asked that, when we actually do it, I send him the blog link so he can see pictures from all our travels. Cool!
When he left to take a child back to his class - oops, I was monopolizing his time for much too long - the Special Ed teacher came over to introduce herself to me. I know the one who worked with Jack last year, but I hadn't had a chance to meet Mrs. S just yet. We talked at length about how Jack is doing, which, well, isn't too great in class, because he just can't seem to focus. He goes down to see Mrs. S with his classwork every morning, though, and gets his work done just fine without help, in a timely manner. He's having a lot of trouble still, with identifying numbers and other math-related stuff, so we're going to meet soon to amend his IEP to include more pull-out services for math and reading. Right now, he's just supposed to be getting help with writing, but he obviously needs more than that. So, we'll do whatever he needs to keep him on track. I got their report cards today, too, and he is below grade level in all areas. Except Art, which came as a surprise.
Sophie and I took our leave, arriving home just 25 minutes before the bus was due to come. The swine flu took up our entire day!
Chloë was terribly excited to show me her first quarter report card when she came home. She has a solid B average, with a B in every core subject except for her A- in Social Studies, of all things. (I say "of all things," because that is my worst subject!) Her teacher comments were lovely, expressing what a joy she is to have in class. Hm, I wonder why no one says that about Mr. Argumentative? Back to Chloë: She made honor roll, and she was given an Honor Roll certificate. Way to go, Curls!
She has a science test tomorrow, so after snack (I gave them some of Daddy's pumpkin pie, but I got permission after the fact, hee), I made them get right into their homework, so she wouldn't be up all night studying this time. Her test is on Simple Machines. She did her work, Jack did his, and I gave them pizza for dinner. I seem to be sticking a lot of frozen pizzas in the oven lately. With Rob away at night, there doesn't seem to be much point in cooking much else, that the kids won't eat.
Well, that paragraph was all over the place...
Anyway, Jack had his Cub Scouts meeting tonight, so we got him ready to go after dinner and headed over to the church. The Tigers meet in a small little room (small little?) at the back, and we arrived latish, so we kind of had to squeeeeeze our way into the room. That was enjoyable.
The first part of the meeting was spent going over the Immediate Recognition items, which include the Cub Scout Promise, the Motto, and the Sign. Rob worked with him on those things just ONE night, so I didn't really think he knew the Promise at all. Well, when the leader asked who knew it and could lead the rest of the Tigers, Jack said, "I know it!" and raised his hand. I was extremely skeptical, but he went on to reel the whole thing out, by heart! I could NOT believe it; I was beside myself. He is a smart little boy, but he Just. Won't. Work. Seriously, it was amazing to me!
So he knew the other two things and earned his Immediate Recognition badge thingy, and then he earned three beads besides. We are only behind on one activity - making a family scrapbook, which, hell, we can knock that out this weekend - and he'll be all caught up! I thought we had missed a ton of stuff lately, but apparently not. What a relief.
After that, they made pinecone bird feeders, with birdseed and peanut butter. The parents were supposed to help with the knife and peanut butter smearing, especially since we had some very prickly cones, but Jack was insistent on doing it himself.
See his little Immediate Recognition badge? It's the white thing there, with the paw print. Yay!
These are iPhone pics, so you can't tell how great his turned out. It looked mahvelous, dahlink. He can't wait to go out to the backyard with Daddy and hang it on the tree!
Lastly, another little Tiger passed out turkey cupcakes that he had made with his mother and sister. So cute! The girls were killing themselves trying to get a cupcake, so I was glad that there were enough for them to have one.
We left after that. I got the Littles ready for bed and sent them upstairs, and then Chloë and I did a bunch of review for her science test. She knows most of it, but I have a feeling that the stuff I had to re-teach her on the quick, she still won't know tomorrow. She didn't seem to really be listening.
And that, my friends, was Monday.
P.S. Here's the picture of Chloë's reaction to the Great Wolf Lodge news on Friday:
Yesterday, I got a call from another mystery shopping scheduler (this happens a lot; I'm in high demand, don't you know. Hee), asking me to please, please, please do an urgent bowling shop out in western Chesapeake this weekend.
Now, that's far from here. Certain parts of Chesapeake are right down the road from us, but that's a 50+ mile round-trip from here. And we're all still recovering from the flu, and it's short notice. So I told her all that, and she said, "Name your bonus."
I named my bonus, a pretty high, unheard-of amount as far as bonuses go. She sucked in her breath. She balked. I held firm. She told me she'd have to take it to the client and get their approval, and then she would call me back.
A while later, she called back. They approved the bonus! I'm still kind of patting myself on the back over that.
So, that's what we did today: drove out in the pouring rain to western Ches and went bowling. Everybody was game (heh), and all five of us bowled at some point in the afternoon. The girls, who had bumper-bowled using the ball-rack for rolling the ball with me recently, wanted to do that again. So we used the bumpers.
And that's the ONLY way Rob and I managed to break 100. Ha, we suck at bowling. In fact, the second game, neither of us DID break 100! I managed to beat him both games just the same, which is the more important thing - right, ladies? ;)
And guess what? Right in front of an employee, I got a strike when the pink pin was the head pin, and she said that meant I won a free game! Shortly thereafter, she gave me a certificate for the free game, and I'll probably never use it unless I get that big bonus again, but still, it was fun.
The kids had fun, too. When they weren't bowling or eating the required-purchase pizza, they were at the games, pretending to play. And we happened to be bowling right next to a family whose little girl is in Jack's class at school, so they had fun with her, too.
That bowling alley is really nice, too - it was clean, with a big pool table area, and even an indoor mini golf course. We enjoyed it. Of course, I didn't bring my crappy camera (I hate the new one, I really do), so no pictures. Bah!
When we got home, the kids went to find their glasses (no luck) while I farted around checking email and, oh, I know, talking to my sister. We BSed on the phone for a long time, and she told me that my BIL (her husband) had been looking at my Facebook profile picture. He said my face looked "chiseled." Now, Rob thinks that's not a compliment for a woman, but when you've been a chubbalump as long as I have, it certainly is! I will take "chiseled" over "squishy dough face" any day of the week, TYVM.
So after that, I decided to make dinner. It was already after 1900 by then, so I was hoping I could get the kids to eat. It wasn't a fantastic dinner, but it was quick and edible: Cheesy Tuna Helper, peas, and Grands biscuits.
Now, I don't know about your husband, but mine told me probably the day we got married that he HATES tuna casserole and could I please never make it?
Nevertheless, he sucked it up (don't ask me why I bought it, other than it was on a good sale, with coupons, and I had a ton of tuna to use up) and finished his entire plate like a good boy. Because he's a decent sort of fellow like that.
I ate my quarter-cup-sized portion, and it was okay. But the kids, they didn't even eat their half a biscuit. Chloë ate a few peas and a little tuna, but not much at all. The Littles didn't eat a single bite. They're all still coughing and generally feeling malaise (I just wanted to say "malaise," but that doesn't sound right, does it), and not eating. Except for Sophia, who ate entirely too much Halloween candy this morning before I woke up, and told me she had a bellyache!
After dinner, Rob took the three of them up to the bath to get cleaned up before bed. He had to sit with them, because the lights are burned out in their bathroom, and though he changed the bulbs, they are still not working. The wiring in this house is a nightmare, but shh, don't tell the prospective new owners when we try to sell it in a few years. Maybe by then we can afford a decent electrician to fix things.
He texted me from upstairs that both Jack and Chloë are now painfully thin after The Sick, so it was no surprise when he came down with them after bath and fed them each a bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream, with instructions to eat every bite. "And not because you had a good dinner, either," I heard him say. Poor kids. They need to put the weight back on. At least they ate it, all of it.
As for me, I cleaned. It started when I was cooking dinner, and the floor was gritty and gross under my bare feet. I swept that while cooking (I'll have to mop it tomorrow) and then cleared the huge mess off the table and washed that down, so we could sit down to a presentable meal.
Then I finally found the Swiffer Sweeper (love that thing) pads to dust the living room, hall and office floors. I collected a ridiculous amount of dog hair, along with candy wrappers and general kid detritus.
I couldn't stop there, because Tiger Lily had tracked in a bunch of mud after going potty today, so I found the wet pads for the Swiffer Sweeper (they had been lost for a couple weeks; Rob hid them on me) and "mopped" the same floors. Scrubbed. I gave myself a blister, but man, it feels and looks so much better in here! I'm loving it.
And finally, I scrubbed the downstairs bathroom. It was pretty gross; I hadn't cleaned it in a while. Now, it sparkles - but please don't eat off the toilet. That's just nasty.
There's still more to be done, but if I had done all this BEFORE the black-tutu girl and her mom came over yesterday, I wouldn't have been embarrassed to let them in. We won't discuss the upstairs, though, which is much worse...
In tutu news, I think I showed you all but the last one I made last night, so for the sake of having at least ONE picture in this post, here it is:
Hot pink and purple, for Etsy - but nope, I lied, I made two tutus last night:
Red and black, also for Etsy
And guess what? While I was cleaning tonight, three of those tutus I made yesterday sold on the Etsy site! And another friend on Facebook is going to take two more, as soon as she gets home. So that was exciting. ☺
And now, I'm going to make one or two more before I turn in for the night. We're going to try sending the kids back to school again tomorrow and see how that goes, and 0700 comes around early.
I'm still not over the tutu-stealing debacle. Ugh! Pissed, I am.
But anyway. Halloween!
The kids' day was kind of lame, unfortunately. They still do not feel too well at all. We all, except Rob, slept downstairs on the couches together, and I slept 'til nearly noon. They were up and about by then, but certainly not what I would call chipper.
Soon after, Rob came down, and sent the three of them upstairs to find the two pairs of missing glasses. Instead, Jack and Chloë settled in for long naps. I mean, they slept an age.
Sophie came down and visited with me for a while until I had her rouse her daddy, who was sleepy most of the day, to send him out for my $1 Boston Market meal that I never got yesterday. I was craving it like mad, and I figured after running his food to him yesterday in the midst of my busyness, he could run out and do this for me.
Only I didn't warn him that everyone and their brother would be holding the same coupon, and the line would be look, as he put it, "like a line for medical marijuana in Humboldt County."
He was kind of miffed. I tried to feel bad, really I did, but mostly I was relieved that it wasn't me! (Again. I did it yesterday but, as I mentioned, ended up having to leave two cars before my turn at the menu board, having forgotten my wallet!)
I spent my day making tutus. I'm on a kick, and since I've sold about 10 in the last day or two, I need to replenish my Etsy stock. I'll show those in a bit.
Shortly before they returned home, the Bigs woke up from their naps. Jack went straight to the couch and lay down under the blanket, which is so uncharacteristic of him. He didn't want anything, no food, no drink, just TV.
None of them have eaten all week. Chloë came down in just her underwear, and the sight of her made me gasp out loud. She was positively skeletal. She's very thin to begin with, but now she's skin and bones, much too thin for an 8yo little girl. I think she probably lost about three of her 38-or-39 pounds. :(
I did get her to eat a big bowl of cereal, and Jack finally munched on a bunch of carrots, so I was relieved to see them eating something at last! RELIEVED.
At almost 1800, I pulled out my big bowl of candy in anticipation for all the kiddies I was going to receive. Only, now Jack was refusing to go out, just not feeling up to it, and Sophia had fallen asleep. Chloë was raring to go. I knew Soap would be mad if she missed out on trick-or-treating, so after several attempts, we got her awake and in her costume. She was NOT in the mood, but she was determined to get out there.
Waking up the father was a different matter. It took me 20 minutes to get his arse up. I took pictures of the girls in their costumes while I waited:
First, two girls came up for candy just as I was about to take the first picture, and she ducked shyly behind her sister to get away from them! This is very unlike her. Normally, she is outgoing, all smiles, and gregarious. Clearly, she was tired and not feeling well.
This picture cracks me up. I love the look on Sophia's face. She was NOT having it! One more try:
Hee! Nope, not gonna happen this time. I gave up and let them go back inside to wait for Daddy.
But wait! Who's this? Little Jacky decided he wanted to go out after all, at the very last minute! Sophie, not surprisingly, refused to be in any more pictures, so this is all I have this year. Oh well!
(And none of you poopers answered my poll, so I decided to go back to my original idea and have the photo at Picture People tomorrow just be of Rob in uniform. So there!)
They did not last long. First, they came back after about 15 minutes to bring Sophie home, because she was scared of the dark. She shucked off her clothes and dug into her slightly-filled candy bucket.
Then, about 20 minutes later, Jack called it quits. As he was coming in the door, Chloë decided her feet were hurting her, and she gave up, too! And that was it.
But it wasn't a great year for TorT'ers either, and I ended up having waaaaaay too much candy. I was giving out 2 and 3 pieces at a time from the very beginning, and we still have about 1/3 of the bucket full! So my kids will have their candy anyway, oh, well. At least I buy good stuff and not crappy candy. ;)
Confession: I ate a Butterfinger. I LOVE Butterfingers. Love them. And I couldn't resist. I didn't dump, but I felt a little of the "carb coma" afterward. However, I did learn that chocolate just doesn't taste that good to me anymore. It's sickeningly sweet and cloying, and I don't care if I never eat it again. So very well, then. Back to my sugar-free life!
And here's what I've been working on, some of which will be in the shop in a little while:
Purple and yellow tutu, ordered by my friend K. for her daughter
Pink and green tutu, ordered by K. for her other daughter
Hair clips for Christmas stocking stuffers, ordered by my friend C. for 2 of her 3 daughters (she also has 3 sons!)
Butter yellow tutu, for Etsy
White-wine tutu, for Etsy
Pink and black tutu, for Etsy
So I have at least one more tutu in me tonight, but I feel my knitting mojo kicking back into high gear, so I'll get back into that either tomorrow or Monday. Just in time, too - Luke is healthy and growing now, and I NEED to finish his set!! Bad knitter friend, I am.
Oh, one more picture of a woolly worm Rob found on his way outside tonight (it's a crappy picture, because I haven't figured out my new camera enough to take anything BUT crappy pictures, it seems like):
That sucker was HUGE! A real fatty. He needed some caterpillar gastric bypass.
All right, off to tootie-tute-tute. See yas!
P.S. The Boston Market meal? SO worth the wait. Agreed Rob, since I could only take about three bites before Pouch called it quits, darn that rascal.
...Because it's easier to blame my day falling apart at the seams on him than it is to accept it myself, I'm going to go with that. Yeah.
Yesterday ended, and today began, here. Pretty much. Picture it: Living room, 0230, I'm lying there wide awake after having the fever-sleep off and on during the day, even having taken a sleeping pilly. Nada. Nope. Not happening.
So I decided to get up and monkey around in the office. I've been selling lots of tutus at the clearance price lately, which makes me want to make up more with the tulle I've got, and sell those, too. I just want to be rid of it all and make room for ... something else. Or nothing. Nothing would be great. Empty space, I dream of you.
And then, Sophie comes trotting down the stairs, wide awake, telling me that she can't sleep. Only, no sooner did I collect my sweet babe into my arms, than she fell asleep in them. Look at her. She is so big... but she is still little. I love that paradox of childhood. Big! But little!
I set her on the couch with her father and went back to the office to fiddle. First I made this tutu:
in charcoal and ivory, for no one in particular. Just for Etsy. I had many-hundred blogs to read in my Google Reader, and e-mails to answer, and, well, Farmville to keep me company while I made the tootie-toots. Because 0400 didn't seem late enough to stay up, I stayed right there and worked on this one:
in eggplant and ivory. Every time I finish a new tutu, I think, "Ohh, that's so pretty!" I think they all are. I wish I could wear one. I wish my girls wore theirs every single day. They used to. I think they got overloaded with tutus, though. But I digress.
So by the time I finished the second tutu and read about, oh, 400 blogs (mostly skimmed and deleted; I delete the fun and fluff ones like design and celebrity blogs when I have too many to read, but I almost always read all the parenting and knitting ones), it was well nigh on 0700. Time to get the kids up for school.
Oh yes, school. Remember that place? They didn't want to go back. Especially Jack. He pitched a royal fit. And neither of the Bigs knew where their glasses were. And Rob didn't want to get up and help get them ready, and I was beyond tired by that point, and and and. But somehow, we got them off in one piece.
Rob went upstairs to nap, while I read through some of my favorite blogs for deals and freebies and such. Today was supposed to be my day for sanitizing the house, but instead, I found rather a lot of good deals to be used at LH Mall. And I decided to take a fun day, a day for me, free of the house, free of the flu, free of work, free of the kids, free of the dreaded cleaning.
And why not? It would all still be there when I got back.
Only, it didn't quite work out that way.
I was hoping to be at the mall by 10:00 and home well before the bus came after 1500. Instead, my husband woke up while I was showering, and overcome by the forces of attraction of my major loose saggy skin naked body, he sequestered me to the room for the next, um, two hours. Yes, two hours. Good times, good times. I didn't complain much.
TMI? Whatever. You know I don't shy away.
I will tell you this, too: he had a fever, so his balls were hanging so low, I told him he should just go as a pair of nuts for Halloween. He was practically tripping over them! Wait, maybe that was TMI, even for moi.
My BFF Lisa, from New York, wanted a picture of my hair from all sides. I semi-styled it and had Rob take pictures. They aren't great, but here's a current one of me. He insists I have a major wonky eye. Do I? If so, then my apologies to Dr. Michael Bidus (of hysterectomy fame last year) for mentioning his! (And eek, I look more like my dad all the time. Scary.)
So. By the time I got downstairs, it was noon o'clock, and the preschool was calling me to say Sophie had a sore throat and could I please come get her?
Here we go. Day over.
I kind of figured they wouldn't last, which is why I wanted to get to the mall so early. Damn that man!
Of course, I rushed right out to pick her up. She had a miserable look on her face when I entered, but as soon as she saw me, Sophia brightened right up and smiled the biggest grin ever. She jumped out of her chair, where she was NOT eating birthday cake, and ran over to me. "Mommy! Mommy!"
We collected all her belongings, and then, naturally, I though it would be a good idea to head over to the main school and check on Jack and Chloë. I didn't want to get all the way home and then get a call to come back for them!
Mrs. B., Chloë's language arts teacher, was right at the front of the school when we came in, so I got her attention . She took me into the cafeteria to find Chloë, but Curls wasn't there. Where could she be?
The nurse. She was already at the nurse. Good thing I arrived to swoop in and take her home!
Jack was brought in, but he insisted he was fine and wanted to stay at school. Major shocker there!! I said good-bye and then left with the girls.
The girls, at this time, both seemed more or less fine, just a little disappointed to be missing their Halloween parties. I had no clue they were really still quite sick. I am, apparently, pretty stupid. Damn me! It's the FLU, for heaven's sake, and they are little children. I should have given them at least a week. But I didn't. Sigh.
We went home to, I don't know, get my coupons for the mall and drop off their school stuff. We kissed Daddy good-bye, as he was headed to work, and left for the mall venture.
Our first stop - which, as warm as the day was, probably should have been our last - was to Edible Arrangements to pick up our free six-piece chocolate-dipped fruit sampler. Nice, huh? Did you see that promotion for becoming a fan on Facebook? Well, you know I had to jump all over that. Nice freebie! Too bad I couldn't partake.
While there, I got a phone call about doing a certain kids' shoe store mystery shop, at THAT mall. I didn't want to take it, but I can never say no, and heck, I was already there anyway. So I accepted it.
And then in the parking lot to drive over to the main mall parking lot, I got another call from someone who had found me via Google, needing a tutu TONIGHT. An all-black, ladies' size small, black tutu. I didn't have any black tulle, but she sounded absolutely desperate, so I told her I'd find some and make her the tutu tonight. Stupid, stupid, stupid. I only quoted her $25 for it, too, when in reality, I would have charged her more like $40-50 i f I wasn't clearancing! Dodo-head, I am!
Anyway, so the race was on to get our mall stuff done and then get back to get Jack. I was in a mad hurry. The girls were dawdling. I was pulling them along. That was the scene.
We went to Old Navy in the mall first. All Halloween items were marked down to $2 for today and tomorrow (Halloween) only, plus I had a coupon for 15% off that! I managed to score these 14 things for less than $25. All of which we can use either now or this time next year. It won't be wasted. And hey, $2. Can't beat it. (Well, you can. $1, say, or 50¢. But just you hush.)
We hurried to the other side of the mall, where I had a coupon at Vickie's Secret for a free lip gloss with a bra fitting. Um, the girl wanted to measure me right in the middle of the store, over my shirt. I gave her a weird look, so she pulled me into the dressing room hallway and still measured me over my shirt. After my last professional fitting, which took about an hour, at the boob store, this was bewildering to me! (Before, I was a 38G. Now she measured me at "either" a 38DD or a 40D - my choice. Uh, I think I'll go back to the boob store.) All I really wanted was the free lippy anyway, and I got it!
Next up, I had a coupon for a free anti-bacterial thingy at Bath & Body Works with any purchase, and it was right next store. I scooped up some of the 5/$5 hand sanitizers - which turned out to be the free gift anyway - and was heading toward the cash wrap when we ran into none other but Linda!
After the initial recognition, she said to me, "Hey, you don't look sick." This was after telling me yesterday that, on the phone, I didn't sound sick. It kind of annoyed me. I don't care how I look, I don't care how I sound... I'm telling you how I feel, and how I feel is I HAVE THE FLU. Plus I was in a huge hurry to get back and get Jack, so I was maybe a little pissy with her. Or maybe not, I really don't know, but I'm kind of irritated with her about something else entirely and don't care right now! The girls saved me by saying they both had to go potty RIGHT NOW, so I threw back all the products and ran them down the mall to the bathroom.
And then I remembered that shoe store shop I'd taken on (which I still haven't reported, oops). We quickly did the purchase portion of the shop and walked out with a new pair of boots, "for Sophia."
Next door, I had a coupon for The Picture People, for a free session and 8x10. My very original plan was to bring Rob in there this morning, in his uniform, to take the picture his mom has been asking for for at least two weeks now. But he STILL didn't have the uniform ready. Then we, uh, wasted those two hours, and he didn't have time after that. So I decided to see if they had an appointment left for later in the day, to get the kids done in their Halloween costumes. They had one. I made it. We left.
It was time to go get Jack. We tore through the mall, and when we were almost at the van, I realized Sophie didn't have "her" boots with her, which she had begged to carry!!! Feck! Thankfully, I had the phone number to the portrait place on their coupon, and they had the boots and would hold them for me. Phew.
Traffic was major by that point, and I was pleading-praying to be home in time for the bus. It was already 10 minutes later than I'd wanted to leave... but we made it! Three minutes ahead of schedule, AND the bus was a few minutes late.
Jack, who had been quite the perky boy in school, burst into tears the minute he saw me. He was warm. He felt crappy. I could see it in him. I carried him all the way home, but sadly, we couldn't stay there. I'd promised to get that tutu done, I'd made the picture appointment, and we'd left the boots behind where I needed to back and return them anyway. AND I'd promised to bring Rob dinner, meaning he'd left home without any food. Sheee-it.
So we went back out. At first, we stopped at Boston Market, where I had that coupon for a $1 chicken meal. It sounded good to me, and would feed all four of us! We waited in the long drive-thru line for half an hour, with all the kids coughing and finally, sleeping, in the back, before it dawned on me that my wallet was still at home in the Old Navy bag. Gah!
So I had no choice but to go all the way back home and get it. Forget Boston Market, that would have to wait. We went to A.C. Moore, where I knew they carried the tulle. In black. I'd gotten it there before. They turned out to only have ONE small roll of it, whereas I'd need at least four to make the tutu. I picked up some other foofoo things for finishing tutus (it's a sickness, I tell you) while the nice lady called the other store to see if they had some. They didn't.
We drove to Michaels. They didn't have it.
Joann's didn't have it.
Party City didn't have it.
Hancock's didn't have it either, but they had bolts of black tulle fabric! I'll take it!! I knew it was going to be a lot more work for me, but I'd promised the girl I'd make it, and I didn't want to let her down. We bought the whole bolt, all 8 yards at $1.99/yd, since I had no clue how many it would take in that form, and I could always use the rest in another tutu.
Then we headed straight back to the mall. I knew the pictures weren't happening, since they were all pretty cough-y and cranky and cry-y by that point, but I at least had to get the boots and finish the shop. So I rescheduled the picture appointment for Sunday afternoon. Hopefully they'll all be well enough by then to do it cheerfully.
Quick poll: Should I still do the Halloween picture on Sunday? Or just a casual one of them? Or maybe one of all five of us? Please tell me what to do; I can't decide.
B&BW was right there, so we went back to use that coupon. This time, I found a $1 bottle of lotion, and bought that to get my free hand sani. It smells GOOD, too! (The sani; not so found of the lotion, but it's okay.)
I had one last coupon, for $1 tarts and votives at Yankee Candle. I burn those tarts like a crazy woman, and they are normally $2 - and the kids had temporarily rallied - so we ran in and grabbed 10 of the three newest scents. I'd thought I wouldn't really like the Autumn Wreath one, but it turned out to be my favorite of the fall scents. It smells amazing!! I can't wait to burn it.
Finally, I grabbed my cantankerous crew and headed home. They were so relieved. Poor, poor babies.
They lay in the living room, sipping water, while I worked hard and fast on the black tutu for this evening. It took forever to cut all that tulle up into the proper-sized strips and then cut those strips into the lengths I needed. It was tedious, and this was the one tutu I didn't enjoy making.
But I finished! At 2000 hrs, it was complete. I called the girl to let her know she could come get it.
I left a voicemail.
At 2030, I called again. No answer.
At 2100, I called again. No answer.
I gave up after that. It's now 0030. I am seriously, seriously pissed. If she stands me up after all we went through to make this tutu for her - for so cheap!!! - I am going to hunt her down and beat her ass. (Never you mind that I'm a total wuss. I will do it.)
By this point, Jack was dead asleep on the couch, and the girls were pretty chill. Rob had talked me into getting not only HIS food, but food for his two night-duty crew members, too. Something about gratitude and loyalty, yadda yadda.(He's the boss, you know.) I had just gotten a MyPoints offer for Dominos pizza & subs, so I jumped on that. He didn't want the Bostom Market thing, so that'll have to keep 'til tomorrow.
The food arrived, and I roused everyone to go out to the base. They were all sound asleep in the car when we got there. Rob came out and got all the food - including the chocolate fruit I brought along - and that was it. Gone in a flash. I felt a little underappreciated!
So now we're home, and that's that. The black tutu is still here, and I'm seething about it. But I had a fun day of "treats," and a miserable day of being a shitty mother to my kids.
Tomorrow, they are NOT going to soccer! Their whole job this weekend is to rest and get much better before attempting to trick-or-treat or go back to school.
Oh, and find those fricking glasses.
P.S. Sorry for the length. I never, ever start out intending it to be so long!
So... after three days of cleaning up puke (not counting last week's Sophie episode), and a good day of rest today, the kids are going back to school tomorrow.
Unfortunately, now Rob and I have the flu. I've been throwing up - well, at lest dry heaving, since I rarely have anything in me TO throw up - and we've both had fevers. Rob, normally a weeny boy when he's sick, has had to suck it up and go to work anyway. He's the only inspector on duty at night, so they'd pretty much have to shut the whole hangar down without him. Poor guy.
I, on the other hand, have been lying around, saying, "yes" whenever the kids ask me if they can have a yogurt/juicebox/fruit snack/go at each other, not caring so much as long as they were taken care of.
Until this evening, when they all begged me for soup for like an HOUR before I got up off my sick bed and made it to the kitchen. Because they all wanted it, I made two cans.
And you know what? They didn't eat one single bite of it. It's all still sitting there on the table, for me to scowl at whenever I walk in there.
I'd eat it, but I can't have soup, or Oscar the Pouch will be sorely pissed at me.
So there it sits.
After the soup, I sent the troops upstairs to find Jack's long-missing glasses. Those things go missing every other fricking day. I'm SICK of it. Jack and Chloë fell asleep instead of looking for it, so Sophie hung out with me in the kitchen.
I had to bake something for Chloë's school party tomorrow, so rather than the cookies I'd planned on, I decided to use up the dozen or so overripe bananas sitting around.
Only, halfway through the process, I couldn't find the baking soda! Wth, who runs out of baking soda? Seriously? I must have used the last box to deodorize the litter box...
So we ducked out to the store, leaving the Bigs asleep upstairs, to go around the corner for the soda, some more OJ, and eggs. I was going to make up two loaves of banana bread, and that would use all my eggs. They are a hot commodity 'round these parts.
At home, I finished the first loaf, put it in the oven and eventually, took a quick taste of the dough left in the bowl. DRAT! That's when I realized, I'd left out the brown sugar! Bahahaha, I'm super-slow sometimes.
So I made the second loaf, making extra sure I put in all the ingredients, and listed the first one on Freecycle. Surprisingly, no takers! Hee.
My kids decided they wanted it, so I tried a little bit with butter to make sure it wasn't nasty. It tasted like banana crackers. Not bad, but definitely not sweet, despite all the bananas and chocolate chips. Oh, well. Fail.
At least there is one loaf to take to school tomorrow. I'd meant to send both, but they'll just have to take what I've got, right?!
I'm half-expecting someone to call home and need to be picked up tomorrow. Not sure who, though. Wanna place bets?
P.S. Thanks SO much for not ragging on me about quitting my job. I realize how it sounded... but I seriously hate cleaning! lol