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Sunday Stealing: Would You Rather?

A White Families' Guide For Talking About Racism - Education With ...

Hey there, y'all. Me again. I  hope you're doing well on this June Saturday evening.

I am troubled, but I am doing as well as can be expected.

You see, I am an extreme empath. I want to be an ally for everyone who is marginalized. And of course, this is the month generally allocated for Pride celebrations, and I have two LGBTQ+ daughters. And of course, we are seeing nationwide international protests and demonstrations to bring more light to the causes of white privilege and institutionalized racism. For my entire adult life and then some, I have been an ally for the Black Lives Matter movement even before it was named such a thing. I don't want to be "just" an ally anymore. Nor an accomplice. I want to be a co-conspirator.

And so that means, you might ask, why I am I doing this meme, right now, in this time, with this frame of mind? It is because, as I said, I am an extreme empath. I generally feel all the human emotions more strongly than not just the average human, but even more than the average empath. Sometimes all at once! And so I can tend to get overwhelmed and need a mental break.

This is that break.

If you are not already locked in to some part of this current movement, I ask that you find out how you can become involved. Learning about privilege and prejudice is important (if you are white, generally), and here is a good TEDx Talk to get started. But it's only a start. And I cannot promise there is an endpoint.

But for now, link up here to join in on Sunday Stealing, and I promise I will try not to make my post so heavy.


Would you rather work in a group or work alone?

Fun group projects :: The Writing Center :: 24/7 Homework Help

I would, by far, rather work alone. I care far too much about the grade to trust anyone else to do any parts of the assignment. I don't know what's worse: having them have to make some contribution and therefore, I can count on my grade to go down because of shoddy work, or doing all the work myself and getting an excellent grade that I then have to share with someone who did nothing.

Would you rather be stuck on an island alone or with someone who talks incessantly?

berkeleymews :: island :: stranded :: message :: bottle :: comics ...

I am the person who talks incessantly. (You can ask literally anyone who knows me.) If those are the only two choices, I'd rather be alone. Both would drive me crazy, but I think constantly being interrupted would edge out the other one!

Would you rather be too hot or too cold?

Thermoregulation | Biology for Majors II

I really can't answer that. Neither is good for me. Ever since my gastric bypass surgery in 2009, my internal thermostat is broken (common), and I cannot regulate it myself. If I get too hot, because I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, I can quickly overheat and will pass out. If I get too cold, because I have Lyme arthritis and other joint issues, it becomes more painful to exist. But I don't know what that "perfect" temperature might be, and regardless, there are four other people in my house who will certainly be uncomfortable if I find it!

When you’re old, would you rather die before or after your spouse?

Bios Urn Will Turn You Into A Tree After You Die | Bored Panda

Seeing that "simultaneously" is not a choice, I'd rather go first. That man aggravates the absolute crap out of me, but I don't want to live a moment without him. And we want to turn into trees when we become old, with trunks intertwined and forever together.

Would you rather have a cook or a maid?

The Maid We Dont Have Tin Sign Wife Mom Mother Humor Home Comedy ...

I'd rather have a maid. I like to cook.

Would you rather be the youngest or the oldest sibling?

65 funny sibling memes for brothers and sisters to laugh at

I've never been anything but the youngest child, so I'm not sure. I think in any other family, it would have been great. In my case, it meant I was held captive the longest and received the most brutal treatment.

Would you rather get rich through hard work or through winning the lottery?

Heavily Discounted Gold: The Smart Way To Play The Rally ...

That's kind of a loaded question for me, because I have no real desire to be rich. On the other hand, I love a lot of things which, unfortunately, I need money to do and obtain. If I were get rich, I would prefer it to be through my own blood, sweat, and tears, and not through some way I did not really earn. And I would love to then become philanthropic. But money itself, and the accumulation of a lot of it, has never been an interest for me.

Would you rather have a 10-hour dinner with a headstrong politician from an opposing party, or attend a 10-hour concert for a music group you detest?

UNSAINTED - SLIPKNOT | •Rock• Amino Amino

I could not handle ten hours of dinner, an occasion I try to keep pleasurable and peaceful, with such a politician. Of course, I imagine Trump. Nope, no thanks. Not even if you paid me with all of his proclaimed wealth. But I think that there is always something I could find that I enjoy with most any music. I do not like heavy metal. I do not like death metal. But in October 2019, when I was driving my mostly-sleeping family home from camping at Craters of the Moon National Park, I accidentally found myself listening to the newish song "Unsainted" by Slipknot. I definitely despise their music, for the most part, but I made myself listen to it and found that this song, these lyrics, really struck a deep chord within me. So there's that.

Would you rather be an Olympic gold medalist or a Nobel Peace Prize winner?

File:Nobel Prize.png - Wikipedia

If I was born with any athleticism whatsoever, my answer might be different, but I  wasn't, so it's not: Nobel Peace Prize, please!

Would you rather have a desk job or an outdoor job?

Marine Biologist - Carnegie STEM Girls

Oh, I'd easily pick an outdoor job, 100 times out of 100. That's one of the reasons I eventually left my PhD program: I realized I'd be behind a desk working on papers, grants, etc. far more than I'd actually be out in the field. I'd rather be in the field.

Would you rather live at the top of a tall NYC apartment building or at the top of a mountain?

NYC Dream Downtown Hotel Offers Sneaker Concierge Who Can Deliver ...

Can I please have a penthouse in Manhattan?

Would you rather have Rambo or The Terminator on your side?

Terminator: Dark Fate's Linda Hamilton criticises "very ...

Neither. I'd rather have Linda Hamilton's Sarah Connor from Terminator.

Would you rather be proposed to in private or in front of family and friends?

Either way is fine, as long as I still end up with my guy! ♥

Would you rather have to sew all your clothes or grow your own food?

A DIY vertical garden brings privacy and produce to a confined ...

I've tried both and wasn't instantly great at either, so I kind of gave up. I think I'd be more motivated to grow my own food, though, and I'd love to start with a stunning vertical garden.

Would you rather hear the good news or the bad news first?

image] Good news, bad news, who can say? : GetMotivated

I'd rather get the bad news first, so I can quit fretting and worrying and get on with the good news.

Would you rather be your own boss or work for someone else?

Be Your Own Boss | Funny Meme on ME.ME

It would depend entirely upon what I'm doing. In either case.

Would you rather have nosy neighbors or noisy neighbors?

Nosy Neighbors

At this point, I'd rather have nosy neighbors. Our little dogs bark at anything that moves outside, and that gets to be too much, y'know?

Would you rather be on a survival reality show or dating game show?

Dating Fails - dating game - Dating FAILs & WINs | Funny Memes ...

Oh, the latter, I guess. I'd never survive the first one, although I'd prefer it in theory!

Would you rather be too busy or be bored?

28 Bored Meme That Make You Laugh All Time - My Blog

I'm never bored. I don't know how to be bored, and I prefer it that way.

Would you rather watch the big game at home or live at the stadium?

Miami Hurricanes at Florida State Seminoles: How to Watch ...

Live is so much more fun!

Would you rather spend the day with your favorite athlete or you favorite movie star?

Tom Hanks & Johnny Depp Are America's Favorite Movie Stars ...

I don't have a favorite athlete, so...

Would you rather live where it is constantly winter or where it is constantly summer?

I've done both and definitely prefer the "always summer" plan. Can I please go back to Miami now?!

Would you rather travel the US and see the sights in a motor home or by plane?

Best RVs on the market for under $150,000 - Business Insider

If this can be our RV, then I'm all-in!

Would you rather be a little late or way too early?

Your Early 20s vs. Your Late 20s (With images) | College humor ...

I despise being late. I'd rather be early every single time, please!

Would you rather have an unlimited gift certificate to a restaurant or a clothing store?

4 Smart Ways to Organize the Clothes in Your Closet - Closet and ...

I think I'd take the one for clothes. A restaurant typically has a limited menu, and I have a very limited, specific diet. On the other hand, fashion is constantly changing, and I could never get bored. (I'd prefer it be to a thrift store, though, so I'm not supporting the environmentally-irresponsible textiles and fashion industry so much.)

Would you rather date someone you met online or go on a blind date?

Well, I've done both, and the I'm in my 20th year of marriage to the last guy I met online... so I'd say it worked out!


Thanks for the diversion, Bev & gang! I'm going to try to swing back around later and visit y'all.

But for right now, I've got to prepare for the week ahead. Stay safe, stay well, stay abreast of current events and try to give a damn. Love y'all.


A Walk With My Curly Girly

Flower Walk

Today, I needed some caffeine and rustled up enough change to go get some kind of diet cola from someplace. Chloë decided to go with me, so we could have a little mommy-and-me time. It's harder to come by now that she's 15½, those moments are harder to come by. I brought my camera along for the walk, expecting to capture a few things of interest, starting with these pretty purple tulips and the lilac tree of a couple neighbors.

Parked Trailer

Found this unhitched green trailer inspiring on Virginia Ave, heading out of the 'hood.

Chloe Pallet Fence

On Victory Road, one neighbor had just ONE section of a pallet fence up, so I decided it would be a perfect backdrop for a Chloë shot. There is a lot of traffic on that road and no shoulder or sidewalk, so I had to take a car-free moment and grab a quick snap!

Chloe Bridge

This walk turned into a little mini-shoot for Chloë, as I found her my inspo most of the time! The neighbor next to single-pallet-fence house had this wee bridge over the tiny creek-let underneath it, so I had her hop on it and let me grab another quick shot.


Phlox and old mailboxes at the corner of Triumph and Victory. I dig it.

Flowery Home

A particularly flowery neighbors' house

Old Truck

Old truck. I like it.

Chloe RR Tracks

No train was coming from either direction, but Chloë was still a bit reluctant to stand next to the train tracks. If it were Sophia, she'd be doing cartwheels up and down the rails! But Chloë is more demure and dainty than her baby sister.

Chloes Curls

I know Chloë doesn't quite fully embrace her curls yet, but I am a bit obsessed with them. I can't get enough of them. They're so beautiful and springy. And yes, I am an annoying person who "boings" them when she's washing the dishes and can't stop me. Heh heh heh. So I snagged this pic while she was walking and didn't know the lens was on her.

Chloe Moutain view

Chloë with the mountains behind her... they had snowy peaks this morning, but by this time, they were definitely showing signs of Spring!

Chloe OverpassCrossing the overpass was a little scary for Chloë - and, I must admit, I was afraid, too - but I thought it looked cool criss-crossing with Federal Way and the shadows. I loved the interplay there.


Tumbleweed; we are a tiny bit TW-crazy!

Fabric Joanne's

We ended up getting a 1L of Diet Coke at Walgreens with my change and Balance Rewards points and then starting back home. Only, we were walking with the wind at our backs on the first leg of the trip. On the short leg from Walgreens to Joann's Fabric at the return, the wind was a wall of sheer opposing force in our faces and on our bodies.

Chloë and I could not here each other speak when we were inches apart, so we decided to have Rob pick us up instead of walking into that the whole way home! Weenies, yes we are. Also, Joanne's had a lovely variety of fabric and all-around crafty stuff, so we were not impatient in waiting for him to get us at all!

Rob Ride

And soon, there he was: our knight in shining armor, riding in his black coach to retrieve us and tease me about being a quitter. ;)

Chloe's CurlsOne more shot of Chloë... because those juicy curls just speak to me!

Thanks for stopping by!


Sunday Stealing: Would You Rather Meme

Are you stealing today, too? If you want to join in with us, the link is here!

Cheers to all of us thieves!!!  

Would You Rather Meme

Stolen from: Would Your Rather


Would you rather be stuck on an island alone or with someone who talks incessantly?

I am that person, and I drive myself crazy. I would rather be alone if the other person talks as much as I do!


Would you rather be too hot or too cold? 

I'm rarely warm enough, thanks to my internal thermostat being broken after my Gastric Bypass Surgery in '09. I would SO much rather be too warm, but alas, I am always, always cold.


Would you rather have a cook or a maid? 

I love to cook, but I hate to clean. That maid is a no-brainer!


Would you rather be the youngest or the oldest sibling?

I don't know. I am the youngest of two, four, or five, depending on how you count the offspring from my childhood. I feel like I wish I was the oldest, because I have no backbone whatsoever, and I can be selfish and petty and spoiled like a baby. But, I am what I am, and it can't be changed other than to address it head-on! (Which I do try.)


Would you rather get rich through hard work or through winning the lottery? 

Gotta play to win it big, and I don't play.


Would you rather have a 10-hour dinner with a headstrong politician from an opposing party, or attend a 10-hour concert for a music group you detest?

What, like Donald Trump? Or Ben Carson? Or Marco Rubio? Or the league of other guys - and Carly Fiorina - vying to become POTUS? I couldn't handle a 2-hour dinner, let alone ten of them. No, I'd rather go to a country music concert or something else I detest. #DontGetMeStarted


Would you rather be an Olympic gold medalist or a Nobel Peace Prize winner?

I would obviously rather win the Nobel Peace Prize. I would have done something good for humanity. Being an Olympian - gold or otherwise - does not preclude that, but it doesn't guarantee it, either.


Would you rather have a desk job or an outdoor job?

I have had both. The desk job, for me, was a snooze-fest all day, every day, week in and week out. No, I need to be out in the field, communing with nature, breathing in fresh air... ahh. Yes.


Would you rather live at the top of a tall NYC apartment building or at the top of a mountain?

I must be a stay-home mom (I am), because my first thought was, "Either way, think of the groceries I'll have to lug up there!" Ha! Living in NYC for a year is on my Bucket List; living at the top of a mountain is not, so I'll go with the Big Apple.


Would you rather have Rambo or The Terminator on your side?

I don't really know enough about either one; not my genre. I can't comment on it. Sorreh!


Would you rather be proposed to in private or in front of family and friends? 

I was proposed to privately, and it was exactly the way it should have been - for me. And then we eloped and, to get married in front of family and friends and God, we had a small, calm, quiet wedding on the beach. I wore a $17 slip nightgown from Kmart and was barefoot; hubs wore his Navy dress blues. I had an inexpensive grocery store bouquet, and my friends sang and played guitar for the music. It was very tasteful, very small, and very us. I loved it. I would not have wanted it any other way.


Would you rather have to sew all your clothes or grow your own food?


 I'm a beginner at both, but I love both ideas. I could knit much of our clothes better than sew, and I'm not the best gardener, but I find both ideas very appealing. This photo shows what I just picked up yesterday from the farm that hosts our local CSA. We joined our first one this year, and I'm SO excited! I used a bit of the mizuna and some of the garlic chives to make homemade sauce last night, and it was outstanding!


 Would you rather hear the good news or the bad news first?

I would rather hear whichever one is the bottom line last, so that I can act appropriately.


Would you rather be your own boss or work for someone else?

Wouldn't everyone rather be their own boss? Actually, I don't mind working for someone else, as long as the job is right. It's a bit of a trade-off for me.


Would you rather have nosy neighbors or noisy neighbors? 

I would rather have noisy neighbors, which we do, over nosy ones, which we also do. Both are annoying, but at least the noisy ones leave us the hell alone! Gahhh, I can't wait until we move...


Would you rather be on a survival reality show or dating game show?

I don't know... I think I'd rather be on Survivor, because at least I will have gone somewhere really cool and not lived out my dating drama publicly.


Would you rather be too busy or be bored?

Only boring people get bored. I am never bored. I am often too busy, but I definitely prefer that over being bored. I can't remember the last time I wasn't actively - or even passively - doing something.


 Would you rather watch the big game at home or live at the stadium?


 I'd rather be there, where the action is! We went to our (U. Miami) homecoming game this year, and we won! That was epic. (Sorry, Country Dew...)


Would you rather spend the day with your favorite athlete or you favorite movie star?

You're offering me Matt Damon or...what again?? ::drool::


Would you rather live where it is constantly winter or where it is constantly summer?


I took this picture earlier this month. I have lived in Syracuse, New York, and I have lived in Miami in the past. I only went back to Miami. It's a no-brainer for me!

Thanks for stopping by!


Sunday Stealing: The Birds Are Chirping

 Link up here if you're playing along today!

Birds Are Chirping Meme

Stolen from: Angel's Survey Blog

Name a product you buy mostly because it has a cool package. 


I don't think this is applicable. I'm rarely swayed by such superficiality. If it's not a great product with high functionality and a stellar price, I walk away from it.

  1. What flavor cake do you like for your birthday?  

I have a major sweet tooth, but I just can't get behind cake. It's probably the one sweet I can do without. Oh, I know - ice cream cake! ♥ Love ♥

  1. Have you ever been in love with someone much older or younger than you?  

When I was 21, I was seeing my 42-year-old boss on the down-low. That's a big age spread, right? Hubs is four years older than I am, and that's about as extensive at it gets nowadays.

  1. Have you ever had a job you loved? 

I have. I have had few jobs that I did NOT love. Staying in a hated job is just not in my wheelhouse.

  1.  Have you ever been in a building that was on fire?

When I was nearly eight years old, we had a grease fire in our house. Long and traumatic story later, I got burned in the fire all over my legs. I did not get any treatment.

  1. Are you in an argument with anyone right now?  

Not at the moment, but I have an argumentative nature, so give me a minute.

  1. Would you change your hair color to something outrageous if you would get paid to?  

Hells yeah! I want to do it anyway, so please, pay me! ;)

  1. Have you ever written a poem for someone?  

I used to write poems for my sister to give her boyfriend(s) back in school. I've written one published and cash-awarded poem, in college. Other than silliness, I don't think I have composed any poetry since then.

  1. What is a place where you've vacationed and where you would like to return?

Our Mediterranean cruise was stellar. I would re-do the entire thing. I especially enjoyed... oh, gosh, all of it... but I would definitely like to revisit Venice and Madrid.

  1. Do you eat samples at the grocery store?  

I do if they're within my dietary needs. Whenever I order cold cuts at the Publix deli, they give me a sample to try and assess the thickness of the cut. I never eat the meat ones, because duh, I don't eat meat. This seems to be personally offensive for many of the deli personnel, so I usually take someone else from my family with me!

  1. What do you absolutely have to have to make your birthday feel special?  

I don't need anyTHING, but to be surrounded by my family and friends is superb.

  1. What’s the last tourist area you visited?  




Probably the Augusta Riverwalk while we were visiting my dad last week. Well, we stopped in Daytona on the way home for a gas and tummy fill-up, but we didn't really visit, so I won't count that.

  1. Where do you go out to eat for a special occasion? 

Next week starts birthday season in Casa de Odette, wherein Hubs will turn 43, Chloë will turn 14 (!!!), and I will be 39 (also !!!). We have had plans for over a month to have a joint birthday dinner - with the other two kids, natch - at The Meltin Pot. I can't WAIT... but I might be the only person in our party who actually gets full off that meal and doesn't need to hit a drive-thru after we leave! 

  1. When was the last time you went to a post office? 

I went and dropped off a package yesterday. It had been sitting, languishing, unbeknownst to me by the front door for nearly a month. I got nasty-grams from the eBayer buyer of it, which spurred me to do a look-about. I felt completely chagrined when I actually found it. #OOPS

  1.  Is there an item you are saving up to buy right now?  

Yes, we are saving up for a down payment on a house. It's not really public knowledge (well, until right now), but we plan to move from Homestead, Florida, to the Cape Canaveral area come Spring, when our lease is up. I have several reasons for wanting to move, and move there, but you didn't ask. I'm looking forward to it, though!

  1. Are you psychic in any way?  

I don't really believe in psychic talent, but I often dream mundane, everyday things that subsequently happen. I get deja vu quite frequently as a result. Chloë appears to experience the same phenomenon.

  1. Do you prefer a laptop or desktop? Which are you on now?  

This pretty much summarizes what I think about laptops: useful as a nutcracker. I freaking hate laptops with a passion. I'm a desktop girl. I do have a tablet, but I can count on one hand the number of times I've used it in the past year.

  1. Have you ever received a gift and truly did not know what it was?  

Well, no, I don't think so. I did, however, receive a gift I thought was a joke, and I expressed as much to the giver. Turns out, it was not a joke, and the person was extremely incensed at my lack of gratitude. Embarrassment much? Much.

  1. What’s your homepage? 

The Swagbucks Search page is my homepage, because I get tons of Amazon.com gift cards when I redeem my Swagbucks. Sign up here if you're interested in giving it a try!

  1. Is there a thing you enjoyed doing, but quit because you were not good at it?

I really, really wanted to be good at sewing, and I started trying and stocked up on a bundle of patterns, fabric, and notions, but alas. I need serious hands-on training, because it just does not come naturally to me like knitting and crocheting do.

  * * *

Welp, kids, that's the shizzy for now! Thanks for visiting!



Sunday Stealing: Funky Twenty-Five Meme


Link up here if you're playing along today!

Funky Twenty-Five Meme

Stolen from: The now-defunct Tense Teacher
1. Most unflattering hairstyle you ever had? What made it so unflattering? 


When I shaved my head 2½ years ago in a fit of bipolar mania, that was pretty unattractive. Unless no-hair doesn't count as a hairstyle. I think it should. I have no occiput, which makes the shape of my head non-conducive to going bald. Ugh.

 2. Favorite movie(s) that were made in the 90's? 

Image result for titanic

"I'll never let go, Jack." - Titanic, probably my favorite 90s movie.

3. Do you rent movies? If so, from where? 

We have Amazon Prime, Netflix streaming and, when that's just not enough, we rent movies from the ol' Redbox down the road. I have a billion codes for free movies, so I only pay for them when I forget to return them by 9 PM the next night. Which is always.

4. Do you like cookies better when they're just out of the oven or after they've cooled? 

If the chocolate chip cookies make it out of dough form, IDGAF whether they're warm or cooled. Get in my belleh!!! (and the kids wonder why I don't bake more often. I never met a CCC I didn't love.)

5. Do you still talk to the person who gave you your first kiss? 

No. And I would, except his wife blocked me on Facebook, because she's apparently deluded into thinking he's actually a "catch." Um. Not.

6. Did you go to pre-school? If so, what was the name of it? 

Nope, I was advanced and went straight to kindergarten. Don't hate. ;)

7. How do you take your coffee? 

Enough cream to make it the color of Bambi - flavored, please, but I prefer hazelnut over peppermint, for the love - and depending whether it's a Grande or Venti (because Tall is for weenies, amirite) - three Splendas. I can't do real sugar, 'else I would.

Really, if I go to Starbucks, more likely than not, I'm getting a Grande or Venti Java Chip Frappuccino "Light" with coconut milk. That shit is GOOD. I still only drink a third of it before I get pukey, so the kids usually finish the rest.

8. Do you like fuzzy things? 


I'm a fan of Albert Einstein, so picking this image was a no-brainer. Of course I like fuzzy things. It's the opposite of, say, coarse sandpaper. Which is my least favorite thing on the planet. Eww.

9. Favorite kind of chocolate? 

White chocolate is dead to me. Dark chocolate is okay, but MILK CHOCOLATE IS WHERE IT'S AT, people!

10. Are you more optimistic or pessimistic? 

I'm definitely an idealist, and that does not translate well to pessimism. The few times I'm cynical about something, it's "write this down on the calendar" noteworthy!

11. What about peopleofwalmart.com? Do you think the site is mean, funny, or both? 

I have this motto: "Anything is okay, as long as it's funny." However, I don't find something that denigrates other people to be the standard by which humor should be measured, so it is not okay in my book. NOT funny.

12. Do you like fat sandwiches? If so, what does your favorite one have on it? 

I have a small jaw, so not too fat, please. My favorite sandwich is tuna from Subway on an Italian herbs and cheese roll. I put on Provolone cheese, lettuce, cucumbers, and oil and vinegar. Heavy on the acetic acid.

13. One restaurant you'd never been to but would like to go to?

There's a restaurant here in Homestead, Florida, called Mario's that is something of a fixture. They serve Cuban cuisine. It comes highly recommended to me, but I have yet to go. Soon, I hope...

14. Last time you got a haircut? Do you need one? 

I just got one at the beginning of the month. I was overdue. I'm good now. My stylist asked me to model for his web page when get it to the length and exact cut we want. Cool, huh? Little ol' me?!

15. What's your favorite pattern for clothing (stripes, plaid, etc.)? 

I like mixing patterns, but truth be told, my favorite pattern is paisley. I've never owned a single paisley thing. Why not? Gonna have to get me some. And not Brad.

16. What's your age backwards? 

I'll be 39 years old on my next birthday. I'm kind of stuck on that fact and couldn't get around to actually reversing the digits. When did I get so old?

17. When you see typos in a survey, do you correct them? 

Of course I do. I'm a Grammarly fan, aren't you?

18. When was your last vacation? Did you go someplace special? 

We went to Playa del Carmen, near Cancun, Mexico, in November. It was our first getaway as a couple since, I think, 2008. I guess you could call that special! We had a good time. Drinks were included, so of course it was.

19. What's your favorite kind of pancakes? 

I prefer Belgian waffles. With blueberries. Or strawberries. Or bananas. Or... okay, I can't lie. I can't eat them regardless. Too many carbs.

20. Do you like movies with computer graphics, like Avatar?


Burn! And unless it's Pixar or something, then I don't think I do?

21. Do you know how to sew? 

I sewed these shorts for Jack and Sophia when they were itty-bitties, when I was going through my sewing phase. I went a little crazy sewing at the time. Let's just say, thank goodness I knit better than I sew. I just couldn't really get the hang of it!

22. Are you good at wrapping gifts? 

I can be when I want to be, and usually I want to be.

23. Do you like flavored yogurt? 

Yes, but if it doesn't have strawberries in it, I pretty much don't want it.

24. How old will you be in December of 2015? 

We covered that already. 39 years old. I'm busy keeping 40 at bay, here.

25. What's the age difference between you and your siblings?


My oldest half-sister, Pamela, is... I have no clue how many years old. Maybe 50? I really don't know. I've never met her, and I probably never will. My sister, Stacey, just turned 40. She's 17 months older than I am. I'm the baby of the family. I'm pretty awesome, but I can be a spoiled, self-indulgent brat. I'm not my own biggest fan...!

Now that I'm finished, I'm going to go pop a Tramadol. And then probably another Fioricet. Pain sucks. I wish I could get off this merry-go-round; it's no fun!

Thanks for stopping by.


Friday Fragments: 5.31.13 Edition

Half-Past Kissin' Time
I'm linkin' up with Mrs. 4444 for the first time since before we moved to Miami! Friday didn't sneak up on me for once, so here I am. Link up here if you're fragmenting today. Let's go!
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As if we didn't have enough critters, Sophie brought home a cupful of tadpoles from the park after our picnic Saturday. We don't exactly stock adolescent frog food on a regular basis, so... Rob fed them some canteloupe. Guess what? They ate it. They're still eating it. I haven't run out for tadpole feed since they joined the homestead, so they're stuck with melons. It works.
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This is Chloë's "kitten," Pepper. Those of you with stellar memories may remember that last Fall, after we rescued him, he nearly died and needed several blood transfusions. We didn't know if he'd make it, yet here he is, alive and, as she calls him, "fluffy"! Pepper is one big cat. He's beautiful, though, and is probably my favorite feline of the bunch. I love him, the sweety. ♥ So glad he's here.
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I was at Michael's on Monday, looking around like crazy for buttons, when I came upon this "Craft Supplies" department. Um, hello? It's Michael's, for Pete's sake. Doesn't that describe the whole store??!
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After I made the Presto Chango sweater for Stephanie's son Vinnie, who is allergic to darn near everything under the sun, I needed some instant gratification. I had this ribbon yarn left over from a wreath I made, so I cast on 20 stitches and just knit every row. No pattern needed, and it turned out pretty cool. Sophia watched me make it with keen interest, so after I bound it off the needles, I handed it over to her to keep. She was shocked and delighted! I made her so happy, which thrilled me endlessly. It's the little things. ♥
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So I think I'm going to change the name of my blahg from "Smellyann Strikes Again" to... I'm not sure. Just "Smellyann"? "Smellyann's World?" No, that's lame. I need thoughts and suggestions. Only my nickname appears in the URL, so no harm, no foul
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After I read this post from Jordan Ferney of Oh Happy Day, I knew we needed to make these Shrinky Dink crafts for Rob and the kids' two grandfathers for the upcoming Father's Day. I hustled over to Michaels for tie tack backings and inkjet Shrinky Dink paper, but I only found the latter. No shocker there. So I subbed earring posts and backs for the tie tacks, and I think that'll work. Sometimes good enough is good enough, right?


Are these not adorable?! Yes, we gave the presents to Rob some three weeks early (we'll still do more for him on his actual day, don't worry), because we needed his help finishing the presents. Yeah, that sucks, I know. But though the tie tacks worked, the keychains didn't. We put holes in the paper pre-shrinking, and they closed up in the oven! D'oh! I gave Rob the task of figuring out the hole-making for those. Hee. Still, all five of us loved this project and are going to do it again in the future. Thanks, Jordan!
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Since the Sophie scarf, I've had bad knitting juju. First there was this gorgeous yarn. I haven't looked at it in natural light in a while, but I'm pretty sure it's tomato red or even orange, not the cherry red it looks like here in artificial lighting. Anyway, whatever. It's fingering weight yarn, which is pretty fine, and it kept tangling up on me. I have a lot of yardage, meaning I can make a good-sized project for Vinnie, but I could not find a good pattern to go with it to save my life. Finally, after a prolonged search, I found one. Whew.

This was the project. It was as complicated as it looks there with all ten stitch markers. I didn't get much farther than that before I ripped it all out. I couldn't make heads nor tails of the pattern after that and was completely irritated afterward. Bah!

Then I pulled out this Madeline Tosh yarn, which is absolutely gorgeous and, let's face it, pretty spendy premium yarn. For what I paid, you'd think it would wind beautifully from the hank into a knittable cake. Not so. It knotted up, wound back on itself, and was a complete mess. I bandied about lots of bad words and had a black cloud hanging over my head. In the end, Rob wound it into a ball for me, but I still couldn't find a decent project for it. Double BAH!

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I did finally pull out another hank of yet another beautiful yarn for a new Vinnie project, and it's going well so far. Still, it's on circular needles, and I hate circular needles, so the going is slow. I'm determined to make this one stick, though!
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Oh, hi again, Pepper! Sorry to bother you while you're doing your business. That wasn't the plan.... we have a bunch of cats, so the litterbox is an ongoing issue, with the cleaning and the changing and the sweeping of tracked litter all over the floor. So I was excited to get a deal from PetSmart.com on these Tidy Cats Breeze litter systems, which uses pellets instead of litter - no tracking! And there are pee sheets to change in a drawer under the main poopy compartment so... am I really telling you this? Let's just say, these three thingamabobs should simplify our lives greatly, and I'm a wee bit excited about that.
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So, I've mentioned before that I play a lot of Words With Friends. I have a new 'friend' onboard with me, and, well, it's obvious that she cheats at the game. It pisses me off! I still think I'll win, but that's not cool. What do you do? Continue the game even though you know your opponent is a cheater? Or call it a day on them and end the game?
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Jack, Sophia and Chloë love their new Kindles. We got them the 7" HD Fire versions, ostensibly for school, but they play games on them all the time, too. They adore them so much, it's become difficult to get them to put them down. So we've had to institute a new rule: chores first, then Kindles. No chores, no Kindles. It works. I do find it amusing to see the five of us sitting around together on our various technological devices. Of course, we get plenty of book time, face time, and outside time, too, but I think this is great!
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And finally, speaking of Stephanie, I've had this vintage lace and rickrack for about 13 or 14 years. I got it from my boss's mom, who was being put into a nursing home, and I've never used it. Stephanie sews, and while I've tried, I'm no good at it. So I'm rehoming the goodness with her. I can't wait to see what you make with it, Steph!
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Have a good weekend, y'all. Thanks for stopping by!

In Lieu Of Fireworks

We had severe thunderstorms all afternoon and evening, so our annual trek to the park for the Independence Day festivities and fireworks display was canceled, much to my dismay. It's my favorite holiday, so I was more than a little disappointed.

So instead, the boys did boy stuff, and the girls and I filled our Dia de Independence with crafts. To-wit:

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These were the quickly stapled-together allowance pouches I made for Sunday's family meeting. I've been making them something different out of paper each time, but I wanted something a bit more permanent. Yes, I stapled felt!


Today, the girls and I went back and rectified that situation. They don't have a great deal of sewing experience, so this was new to them. Stitching up the sides, trying to copy Mommy's small, more even lines, proved to be a bit of a challenge. I won't tell you which sister did what - but only because I can't even remember!


Chloë and I worked on this for the front door late last night, but it never ended up making it outside, because of the rain. So our star-spangled wreath hangs on the coat closet door in the hallway.


Sophia wanted to get in on the crafting fun, so I showed them how to make these toilet paper roll critters that I saw on the trilingual (!) El hada de papel blog a while back and filed away for a rainy day. Sophia's still tweaking hers, and I imagine we'll have plenty more of these in the future. I think I might have to do these with my Daisies sometime, too.


I ran out to Michaels and got some casting resin to make a bunch of these, which I'll turn into more magnets and thumbtacks for my Etsy shop. They may not sell, but I don't care, because I'm enjoying making them anyway. And I can always give them away. (There are lots more curing on my floor right now, but they're stuck to the paper and don't look pretty that way!)



After Rob marked off each square foot of the raised-bed garden and dumped in all the compost from this past year's collectings in the bin, Sophia and I went out in the morning's heat and planted this year's garden using the Square-Foot Gardening methodology. Unfortunately, I didn't realize my packet of carnival sweet peppers was empty, so I have four empty squares I'll have to fill. Thinking on that... hopefully this new set-up will yield far more than last year's paltry proceeds, especially now that I know how to can whatever we get!


I snipped off the beautiful lilies growing in the backyard, but they've closed up for the night, so I don't have a nice picture to show you. Maybe tomorrow when they reopen for business. Chloë fretted and fussed about them being dead and ruint, until I told her that's what they did. 



I don't know if these are bluebells or just what, but they're now hiding for the night, too. They're taking over the backyard, so I snipped a ton of them for a little color in the kitchen. I hope they reappear with the morning light, too.

So, if we can't say we saw any sparkling lights in the sky tonight, at least we can say we kept ourselves busy. 

And that was our Fourth. How was yours?


Your Name Rhymes With Snot


On Friday morning, I drove out to EBF Chesapeake to pick up Stephanie and wee baby Luke (who, at 8 months -8 months already!!!! - is really no longer "wee" at all) and carry them back to our house.

They spent the entire day and well into the night with us, so that I could knit Luke a redeux pair of wool shorties that would actually fit his cloth-diaper clad little butt this time, unlike the last pair that came out, well, rather ginormous. (As Steph says, "They go up to his boobies.")

As for the title of this post, I believe it was Chloë who joked to his mama, "Lucas Mucous, your name rhymes with snot!" I giggled and was relieved when I looked up to see if Steph was offended and found her giggling, too. Phew!

The knitting took about 10 hours. We tried the shorties on at one point, but since I was using DPNs (double-pointed needles), a bunch of stitches fell of the needles. Even though I'd used big rubber bands to hold them in place. Fecking stitches. Steph quickly grabbed me a crochet hook, and I was able to save every last one of them (sending a silent "thank-you" to the anonymous yarn shop employee who taught me how to do that, four or five years ago). Phew again!

I didn't take many breaks, knitting almost continuously through the full 10 hours. To say my hands were cramped afterward is an understatement! The only real break I remember taking, aside from inhaling a crab cake and using the powder room, is getting up to show Steph my dance skilz to "Cotton-Eyed Joe" on Wii Just Dance. I think she was impressed and amazed. Or amused. I don't really know.

Oh yeah, and I took a shower, because we were going to go go this awesome (so I heard afterward) Etsy-sponsored crafting party in Norfolk, but we mutually decided not to go and continue on with the knitting. My new mail-order bathing suit arrived from Land's End, and I tried that on. I'm wearing all size 12 stuff from Old Navy right now, but since they were out of size 12 suits, I bit the bullet and ordered a size 10. Well, it fit!! I had to squeeze it on, but Rob said I looked "hot" and that a 12 would probably have been too big. Yay! That means that after I get my abdominoplasty, I should be at least an 8, if not a 6. (I have a LOT of skin to remove.) Single digits, baby!! I can not WAIT.

Anyway, the shorties finally got finished, and I held my breath while Steph tried them on Lucas Mucous. The final decree? They fit!!! Woohoo!! The hard work paid off.


He does look rather cute, doesn't he? I mean, with the shorts. He could wear a brown paper bag and look cute, though. =D


In other yarny news, I had to work through the night into Friday morning, but I finished crocheting the blanket I was working on at the HEAV convention last week:


Oh, my bad, did you want to see the whole thing? Here you go:


I like the finished product very much. I didn't like it at all at the beginning, because it's made with icky-crappy Red Heart yarn (with my apologies the people who donated the yarn to CARE Package the day before I started making the blanket from a pattern book donated by Bunco-friend-Linda) that squeaked throughout the process. I wasn't a big fan of the colors for the first half of the blanket, and maybe the first 7/8 of the blanket but finished, I actually think it looks pretty. And it's softer finished than it is started, if that makes any sense. In the end, I'm satisfied that it will make a nice blanket for the full-term baby girl who will be unfortunate enough to need it. :(



In much happier news, Thursday was Bridging Day for Chloë's Brownies troop. The girls are now officially Juniors! After a year of Daisies and three years of Brownies, I couldn't be more proud of her and the girls, most of whom have been together since they were five. I spent a good deal of time on Thursday sewing on the patches she'd received in December and asked me to sew on ever since; after the ceremony, I sewed on all the rest, in completely the wrong places (ie, non Try-It patches on the front, since I ran out of room on the back). But she's never going to wear it again, so does it really, truly matter?

(I also sewed the patches Sophia has earned on her Daisy smock (Early Bird registration, plus a Make-It-Build-It patch from Lowe's for the trellises they made me for Mother's Day, and a soccer patch from Fall Soccer), and the ones Jack has earned on the back of his Cub Scout shirt. I KNOW those are in the wrong place, so Rob will probably have to take them off and re-do them, as the boys actually have uniform inspections.)


Miss Nikki, the Troop Leader, introduced the girls and sent them across the bridge, and Miss Karen, the assistant TL, gave them their certificates and pinned on their new insignia. Congratulations, Chloë!!


Is she giving me that tween look that says, "Moo-ooommm, stop taking my picture"?? Is she old enough for that yet? My word.


Before the ceremony, we ate dinner, and Miss Nikki passed out all the patches and things the girls had earned. She even gave me a Volunteer certificate and a gift bag with goodies and a couple of patches of my own. Everyone had to bring something to eat to the potluck; we brought the McNuggets and fries and all the Shrek godies that we were supposed to have at our Shrek party last Sunday. Since almost no one was going to come to that, I canceled it and decided to bring the Shrek party to Bridging Day, instead! It worked out.


After the party, during which the girls also sang and recited some things for us, Chloë was completely exhausted. She passed out immediately, which sucked, because we had more than an hour's drive (with traffic) up to Newport News for an audition.

H, the casting director, had called us as we were literally ON OUR WAY to the Girl Scouts party, asking us to come up immediately. Um, no can do, sorry. He said that he was sure that if they saw her, they would want to hire her, and since it was a national commercial, I hemmed and hawed and finally decided no, we really have to go to this party. He countered by saying they would stay late just for her, if we could come up right away after the party. Well, we had plans to go to Michaels to make a Father's Day craft for Rob, but we couldn't really say no, could we?

So we went.

Rob took The Littles downstairs to Maggie Moo's for some amazing (but not cheap) ice cream, while Chloë had her on-camera audition with H. I had forgotten to mention her teeth situation (she's missing several, and others are half grown-in, at the moment) on the phone, but he said it was no big deal. She "slated" for the camera, which is basically saying your name and age and whatever else they want you to do by way of introducing yourself. She was much too tired for that, so it wasn't great, but then she had to take a potty break.

During the break, she really woke up and became her regular, silly, "on" self, so the rest of the on-camera part was really cute. You never know how they'll perceive you, though, so I'm not holding out much hope. H said we should find out by Tuesday if she gets it. It would be a great gig, though!



Lookee!! Rob was a busy boy today. He put together our new compost bin, hauled all the compost we've been making from behind the bushes in the front "yard" and filled it up. Doesn't it look great? I'm SO excited to have a proper bin now.


Also, he built the first of our two cedar raised beds. Unfortunately, he had a dickens of a time actually getting them into the ground, so he had to take it all apart again! D'oh!! Poor Rob. He's going to put it in separately tomorrow, I guess. But still, it looked nice, right? LOL

Can you see my two pretty Tiger Lilies under the tree in the bag? Love. Those are my faaaaavorite flowers.


And finally, Jack snagged my camera and took about 800 pictures with it. Most were crap, but here are a few I kept. Chloë, busy playing games on my iPhone - a favorite activity for all three kiddos.


Sophia, looking completely enthused.


An amusing self-portait


Daddy working; see his hand all bandaged up? He got some horrible blisters trying to pound the box into the ground. Poor Daddy!!

That's all. Back to working on promoting the new blog. If you haven't entered the giveaway, please, please, please go do. :D Thanks, I really mean it. Thank you. There will be a new one posted later on Sunday!


In Which I Admit My Failure, or, Grandma Rocks!

In the beginning, there was Home Ec class, circa 7th grade, age 12, so about 21 years ago.

I made a drawstring bag and then a pair of Bermuda shorts.

As with all things academic, I did a swell job. I ruled at school. When taught how to do things in a linear fashion, I can do what I'm told and turn out a pretty good product. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but school was just my thing.

Then came love, and marriage, and three kids in a baby carriage. Or something.

And for those three kids, the desire to sew.

Oh, I had grand plans. I thought I would whip out garment after perfect, flawless garment, and outfit my kids in an array of darling, boutique-y, one-of-a-kind fashions.

Only, 20 years is a long time to sew from the memory of a long-age home economics class, with only two finished projects under my belt.

But, not to worry, not to worry, for I had two powerful cards to play: my mother-in-law was herself a Home Ec teacher, and my husband sews for a living - at least when he's not on LIMDU, like he is now.  Surely between the two of them, they could make a sewist out of me in no time flat, right?

Oh, I was an eager student. I wanted all the tips and tricks. I wanted to know what I was doing, I wanted to be an overnight expert. I bought yards and yards of fabrics and an abundance of notions. I tried my hardest.

I made a dress for Sophia. A lot of swearing was involved. It was cute, but every time I washed it, the edges unraveled a little more. I would just snip off the fringes and happily put it back on her to wear another day. And Sophia has always been a grateful recipient of handmade Mommy gifts, fringe or not.

I made matching froggy jammies for all three kids. More swearing. And, I think the third top is still under construction somewhere, but it really doesn't matter, because they never wear the jammies all at the same time. These have held up better than the Sophie dress, with no unraveling, although I never did get the collar just right on the first two shirts. (And gosh, doesn't Chloë look gorgeous there, with all her baby teeth still in? Man, her half-toothless smile is such a mess now! I can't wait until she's out of this awkward tooth-losing stage.)

Oh, yes, I almost forgot the batik shorts I made for each kid. Talk about hideous. These also unraveled a lot, and I'm not sure whether they still have them in their drawers (Lord knows they still fit) or I've given them away. More swearing.

And finally, there was the dress on which I got stuck. Apparently I forgot to tag it with a sewing label on my blog, so I can't find it easily, but it was subtly covered with seashells and had poofy tulle under the skirt. I couldn't figure out how to get the zipper in, and neither could Rob. It still sits in the closet.

For nearly two years.

I haven't done any sewing, and I'm afraid it's too late now to go back and make the things I intended to make, for the obvious reason: my kids have grown since then, and I won't have enough yardage. But also, I don't particularly want to sew. I've lost my early mojo. Why? I think because I didn't anticipate the fussiness of the patterns I chose, and I wanted something I could throw together a little more quickly and less laboriously. Also, I hate fusible interface with a passion. I don't know why, I just hate it. I'm not big on ironing - no, pressing - either. And I hate my choices of fabrics available down at Hancock's or JoAnn's. I'd rather use the fancy designer fabrics that I see on all the fun blogs I read, and I'd rather use knits, from which I've been warned.

So there you have it. Am I a quitter? No, I don't think so; I think for sure I'll go back to it at some point. I just need to find my inspiration.

But in the meantime, there's still Rob's mom, the former Home Ec teacher. Since we are and will be doing so much in the kitchen with the kids, I thought I'd ask her if she would mind making them some cute aprons to wear.

Not only did she not mind, but she had them finished and mailed to me about five minutes later. I'm not even exaggerating! Literally I hit "send" on the email and moments later, the package was in my hands. Okay, maybe there's a little hyperbole there. But not much.


And you know what? They are perfect. Grandma doesn't half-ass, you know. She goes ALL THE WAY. These gorgeous aprons are reversible with pockets on both sides and have an adjustible strap so they can grow with the kids. Awesome, completely awesome. And the wings on the bee, there on the right? Made from Rob's sister's first wedding dress. That was the selling point for Chloë, who was poised to do battle with her sister over the flowered one. I told her how special that was, and she agreed. Hooray.

And the kids? They love them. They clamored over their aprons and earlier today, when Jack was going to cook with his dad and I'd forgotten about the aprons, he came running to me to put his on for him. They're thrilled. As am I. 

Thanks, Mom!!





Morning Wood

That title is apropos of nothing; I just think it would be a funny name for a band.

We were busy little bees on Friday & Saturday; not so much today (which is good for a Father's Day, no?).


I overscheduled. So I was stressed and probably not the most fun to be around. It's my fault, I did it to myself. So I'm trying to avoid that in the future.

It didn't help that I didn't sleep a wink, either. Not one minute of sleep. It's becoming a habit I don't like lately. Lately as in, my whole life...

It started out as a bad day on Thursday night, however, when Rob told me that in fact he was not going to be able to come home early to take Chloë to her Brownies end-of-year skating party. What to do? Well, the only thing we could do, since I had a host of other plans and really needed to have the car at my disposal: We woke the kids up at 6-something in the morning, gave them Fiber One granola bars for breakfast in the car, and drove him in to work.

Let me tell you what, when you have three small, very active little monkeys, the last thing you want to do is wake them up early on the very first day of summer vacation. But that's what we did.

So we drove him all the way up to northern Norfolk and dropped him off at the base, and then turned around and came home to get ready for our day. I showered, got the kids dressed (we'd left them in their jammies for the trip), and we cleaned up downstairs a bit.

At 11, we piled in the car for the short trip to the ice skating rink. Almost everyone else was already there, although we were not late at all. I was worried they were waiting for me, since I held the money for the event, but they were just waiting for the place to open. When it did, there was a massive inward rush of children, teens and moms, and my three got lost in the crowd.

You don't want to lose sight of Jack and Sophia. But I found them, climbing up on the big chairs to look out over the ice rink. Jack needed help, so I rushed over to give him a boost before talking to our Leader (that always sounds so cultish to me) to see what was what with the money situation. We didn't have to pay 'til the end. Which was good, because I had to leave Chloë there during the skating portion and go somewhere else.

Skating Party 6 

I had camnesia again! But this time the camera phone photos weren't so bad, I guess. The Brownies (and some siblings, although I kept my two peanuts out of the room, because it was small) were ushered into the party room when the pizza was delivered. They were all there at this point, although many were missing from the photo because they were up helping themselves to more juice and pizza. No matter, I got mine in there!

Skating Party 5 

For the first little while, I mostly alternated between sitting around, doing nothing, and running to the bathroom (with The Littles in tow) with an upset stomach. I think all the Crystal Light I'm drinking is making me sick, but plain water doesn't sit well in my pouch. Anyway, at the far end of the main room, you can see them climbing in and out of the chairs to look at the empty ice. They'd never been ice skating before. And this wasn't to be their first time, either.

Skating Party 3 

When all the Brownies had eaten, Leader invited us into the party room so  could feed the Littles some pizza. They were very excited by this, as they were starving. Then it was time to hand out all the patches and other recognition. Here's Chloë getting about 14 different patches, plus some other cool stuff from the past year. Right after this, I was called up to receive my rewards! I earned three volunteer patches, for Treasurer, Fall Product Chair and Cookie Chair, a sun patch pin, and a notepad and pen gift set from the Council for volunteering. It was pretty sweet. Not quite as cool as my MIL's Silver Beaver award (stop snickering) from the BSA, but still pretty neat. Now I  just have to figure out where I'm going to put my patches!

Skating Party 2 

After the recognition ceremony, Chloë was behaving and so was one of the first given her ticket to go rent her ice skates. We went out and helped her pick a pair, and then I strapped them on her before turning to Leader's little girl to give her a hand. She's five and wears bigger skates than Chloë. Chlo was really happy that she could stand up and walk just fine in the ice skates. I didn't remind her that the ice would be just slightly more slippery...

Skating Party 1 

Then I walked her over to and put her on the ice, reminding her to be very, very careful so she didn't injure herself and not be able to dance in the big Show this coming Tuesday. Mommy was a dodo and forgot that it would be quite cold, so I didn't bring her a jacket or anything! Duh. Luckily, Leader had an extra for her. We went out and put that on her, and then Mama and Littles left her in Leader and Co-Leader's capable hands while we rushed to meet Linda for our lunch date.

This was the lunch Rob and I were supposed to do last Sunday but couldn't because they were closed when they got there. I had to make it up this weekend, but there was no good time to do it. Fortunately, the skating party had another two hours to go, so I thought I could take Linda and cram it in there. I should have just canceled the thing.

I had to go pick up Linda at the library where she was having a test done, which annoyed me to no end because why couldn't we just meet separately at the restaurant? To have to pick her up and bring her back was not on my route, and I didn't have the time that day, and I was already stressed enough as it is. And unlike my normal no-in-person-confrontation, I asked her this as soon as she got in my car. She could tell I was stressed. She's very low-key. It was okay. We'll be okay.

Well, we got stuck in traffic. And then lunch took FOREVER. They didn't put our entrées in until after we waited an eternity and asked what the hold-up was, and they said they were giving us plenty of time. Hello! We don't have plenty of time, we're in a hurry, and we said that when we arrived. I was going nuts. I did not want to be late picking up Chloë from the party, and I still had to pay for the party, too. Ay ay ay.

Linda was good, though. She took the kids potty when they needed to go, so I could stay at the table and do my timings and other observations. She helped me get them to be still and behave, because they were doing anything but all through lunch. She said it was fine if we picked up Chloë before returning to her car, which was good because we ran into traffic and were running late again.

In the end, I got to Chloë with two minutes to spare. It was 100º or so outside, so I left the kids and Linda in the car with the AC on full blast while I collected Curly Sue. I quickly paid the checks, and we left. 

Next up was my eye appointment. I was taking Linda back to the car when she said, "Wait, who is going to watch the kids while you're having your exam? Are they going to behave?" Um, no. So she volunteered to stay and sit with them while I had my exam. This was for another shop, but for contacts instead of glasses. I haven't worn contacts in a few years, because I didn't wear them properly and they irritated my eyes, and also because there were never any shops that allowed me to get them. This was the first, so I took it. Why do something myself when someone else will pay me to do it, huh?

That visit went pretty quickly, and now I'm wearing the contacts. They feel good. It's much nicer than having sweaty glasses falling down my face all the time. The only thing is, I need non-prescription sunglasses now. It's killer to drive around in the Virginia Beach sun without them. My eyes are burning.

So. After the exam, I was finally taking Linda back to her van when Rob called. He couldn't get a ride home. Could I come pick him up? Argh!!! I was low on fuel, both literally and figuratively, and I still had more things in the schedule. But yeah, sure, what choice do I have?

The interstate turned into a parking lot on our way to get him. For two or three miles, it took us about 45 minutes. I was drumming my fingers anxiously, knowing I was going to be late for or entirely miss my bra-fitting appointment. And I could not afford to miss it: I was still wearing worn-out nursing bras, and I hadn't nursed a child in about three years!

Finally, I made it to my exit and was glad I remembered the way to his work. I sat and waited for 11 minutes (I counted) for him to come out. I was glad all three children were sound asleep in the back, because I didn't feel like talking. I was stressed. Annoyed. Frustrated. And sooo tired. Finally, he came out, apologetically. There is always some last-minute crisis at work, something he - the boss - can't avoid. What can I say? Nothing, that's his job, and he has no choice.

So I bitched about being late to my bra appointment. I didn't even know exactly where to go. I didn't have the phone number, or the address. Just the name of the business. (A Full Cup, if you're local and have a hard time finding decent brassieres. It's on the Boulevard.) Rob called 411 to get the number, and then he called them and begged them to still do my fitting. They agreed.

We ended up being about 20 minutes late, and they were gracious and pleasant and welcoming and nice. They didn't complain at all about my tardiness. Which was good, because I had gotten lost twice trying to find it, and was even more aggravated.

The fitting took forever. I have some really weird boobies, apparently. We tried on bra after bra after bra. Some of them were $175 or so - each. Ouch. I was hoping those wouldn't fit. They wouldn't. Finally, we found two that fit just right, and they happened to be the cheapest ones she brought me. Phew. But still not cheap, at over $50 each. Yowza. I've never bought such expensive unnerpannies. In the end, the bras turned out to be a size 38G. Which makes me wonder what the heck my cup size was before I lost 100 lbs and they shrunk?!!

I paid, and while I was waiting for Rob and the kids to return - they went to get gas - the ladies gave me a bottle of ice cold water. It was so good. I could only have a few sips, because as I mentioned before, plain doesn't sit well in the pouch. But it was so hot, I wished it was big enough for me to dive into.

Next up on the agenda was the free movie at Mount Trashmore park. It was about 1800 at this point, and the festivities started at 1930. We went home, planning to have dinner and get ready. Instead, I fell onto the office floor and fell into a deep, three-hour sleep. So we missed the movies. Thank God the kids didn't say one word about it after that, because I would have felt terrible. They must not have cared too much, because they don't ordinarily let such things go.


Chloë laid out all her (and my) patches and awards from the skating party so I could take a picture. The calculator was also from cookie sales, for meeting the 172-box cookie order quota. Missing are her $12 Cookie pass for free registration for next year for the same quota, and her $10 Cookie Credit toward camp, for selling over 300 boxes. Yay, Chloë!

The last thing I had to do was host an hour of my monthly charity chat online. I woke up just in time to do that, and it was a really fun chat. I told them all about my bra fitting, so tits were the talk of the town. It turned out I had the biggest bazoongas of the bunch. How could I not? I mean, 38G. Gee.

When it was over at midnight, that was lights out for me. The kids were long since in bed, Rob was at work standing watch until 8 AM, and I hadn't slept. Zzzzzzzzz....


Rob got the orders to stand overnight watch at the last minute, which sucked because I had lots of plans for the day that didn't include children.

I could have and should have done some running around in the morning, but I was still so tired that I decided to keep the morning free and stay home, ruminating on the rest of the day. When it was time, I showered and got ready for my haircut appointment. I don't know why I always wash my hair before these things, since I know they're just going to wash it again when I get there, but I can't help it. Who wants to go in with stinky bedhead anyway?

The haircut went great. I told her I needed more "oomph" in my thin, lifeless locks, so she cut in lots of layers. I was a little freaked at first, but it looks good, so I'm cool with it. Rob took pictures, but they're for when I hit the 100-lb mark (crossing my fingers it's this week!), so I'll post them later.

Linda met me at the house when I got home. We had more mystery shops planned, and she was riding out with me to MacArthur center to exchange her nonworking hands-free garbage can at the Sharper Image store.

Well, that whole trip was a bust. First, I couldn't return the stupid $40 Coach keychain at the Coach store, because I'd bought it with Rob's credit card after forgetting my purse, and of course I didn't have Rob's credit card with me. I had my card, on the same damn account, but they wouldn't accept it. Oh, I was livid. Linda said, "Don't cry!" which, of course, made me cry, so I rushed out of there.

And there was a way obvious man, in need of a shave, dressed up as a woman salesperson in Coach. That made me laugh a little. S/he made no attempt to hide his/her masculinity, what with the stubble and deep voice, but s/he was wearing a skirt, make-up and other womanly accoutrement. I have nothing against the transgender community, but I couldn't tell if s/he was just transsexual or just cross-dressing, really! It was kind of odd. Especially in that setting.

Anyway. Strike one for that trip.

Strike two was when I'd forgotten to print out my paperwork for the pretzel shop I had to do, and I hadn't even read it yet and didn't even know what to buy or anything. I  called Rob to read me the shop from my email, but he couldn't find the email. And I couldn't find the store on the mall directory to even fake my way through the shop! It was very weird. Later, when I got home, not only did I not have the email, but that store turned out not to be at MacArthur mall at all. I went through every single company's website for which I mystery shop - which is over 100 - and found no record of this assignment. Really, really bizarre. Don't know what happened there, but I just deleted it from my Palm and went on my way.

Strike three was when we discovered the Sharper Image store was no longer at MacArthur mall. Just gone, completely gone. Linda was pissed, after dragging this huge garbage can all over the place! We talked to a 6'8" security guard, who turned out to be way cool and got us free parking, and he confirmed that it was outta there. We chatted with him a while, and then returned to the parking garage, 0-for-3.

Our last stop was at the PetSmart at Military Hwy, for another shop. I hadn't read the assignment ahead of time, because I rarely have time to do that anymore, so I didn't know it was such a huge job. For very little reimbursement. Screw that, I said, and we left without doing it.

Home again, 0-for-4. Suckage. Linda left, and Rob and I got ready to go out later for our little date. He got the kids' bathing suits and towels ready to go swimming at Linda's house. At 1700, we dropped off three very excited kids with Linda and Tony. They wanted to jump right into the pool at their house, so Tony took them outside. We said goodbye to Linda and left.

Our first stop was a resort down on the oceanfront, for a bar shop. I hadn't done a bar shop in a couple of years, but this one went rather smoothly. Those are not the easiest evaluations and require lots of training, so I was glad that I couldn't actually drink (well, I snuck a few sips, including one of the best piña coladas I've ever tasted) and was able to concentrate at the task at hand.

The beach atmosphere was nice. I love being right on the water, next to the pool, with beach-dressed people and smells and sounds, next to the love of my life. We had a good time, lots of laughs. Rob got a little smashed and was saying some funny shit. He had me cracking up.

When we finished that, we drove to Lynnhaven Mall to do a Gymboree shop and buy some socks for our following bowling shop. It was hard doing Gymbo, since I wanted to buy everything in the store, as usual! They have so much cute stuff right now, too. Very difficult not to buy the adorable watermelon dress for Sophia; I wanted it so badly! Rob kept whispering drunkenly in my ear, "They have enough clothes. They have enough clothes." And he's right, which killed the temptation. So we bought our socks there, in the largest size they had, which was fine because we both have pretty small feet.

They didn't have the black socks I needed for Chloë's dance recital, so we stopped at Old Navy to pick them up for a buck and a quarter. Now, I don't know where in the house the kids put those socks, so we're kind of screwed if I can't find them in the morning. Her dress rehearsal is tomorrow, so she must have those socks!

Lastly, we went bowling down the road from the mall. I'm positive they realized I was the shopper, since they were totally kissing my ass the whole time. I wasn't taking notes or anything, so I don't know what gave it away! The only thing I can think of is that when they offered to put our names in the system and help us find a ball, I said yes, as per my instructions. Most people don't do that. It had to be that. Right?

The bowling was fun. Oh, we suck so bad. I got gutter after gutter, and Rob, well, Rob was drink bowling. Need I say more? Neither of us broke 100 for either game. Rob kicked my butt the first time, and I beat him the second game, after getting a last-minute strike and a spare. Whee! I wished we could have played more games, but it was time to go collect the brood.

At Linda's, I was wondering if they would be asleep, since it was almost 2200. But they were wide awake, bouncing off the walls, and the only tired ones were Linda and Tony! Poor them. Linda told me 100 times that they have a lot of energy, and I agreed. As I say all the time, it's a wonder I'm not skinny, trying to keep up with them!

They didn't even fall sleep on the car ride home. And Sophia would not go to bed. She was still up with me at 1 AM, while I was sitting here talking to an old friend on Facebook and trying to do my reports. At last, she started yawning and shimmied up the stairs to her room. I'm so glad she got some decent sleep.

I went upstairs and crashed next to Rob, where we slept and slept the good sleep.




Chloë woke us up around 0900, I'm guessing, to tell us she had finally lost her bottom loose tooth! (She has two top ones loose, too.) We'd been trying to pluck it out all day Saturday, to no avail. But she twisted and out it came, in her mouth! She was very excited. Of course, I need to play Tooth Fairy tonight now.I hope she remembered the tooth. I'm sure she did. What child could forget?

We went back to sleep, and I trudged downstairs later when my shops were calling my name. I worked on them for a little while, but then I developed a major headache and had to lie down. So I did. The kids were watching TV with me, and Rob was still sleeping upstairs.


We had no plans for the day, other than going to IHOP for breakfast. We skipped that, though, so we did nothing special for Father's Day. I gave Rob his concert tickets, for the Bob Dylan / Willie Nelson / John Mellencamp I'm taking him to next month. Bob Dylan is his favorite, so he's pretty stoked. We had to miss him a few years ago, so I didn't want to let that happen again this time around and never get another chance.  It's a month away, so after what they cost, I'm just worrying about not losing them! Chloë might go with us, since one child gets in free per paying adult, and Rob thinks she would enjoy it. I'm still thinking about it. What do you think, should we take her?

The only thing we accomplished today was Rob putting my new battery in the van, at last. That thing keeps dying, and we have to bum a jump off some poor stranger. I'm excited to finally have a new one, especially if I'm going to be driving up to NY next month!


Also, I sewed all the new patches on Chloë's Brownies vest. Better do it now, before we lose one. I didn't bother with the ironing-on at all, since half the time they don't stick and I have to later  sew them on anyway.


So colorful, so cool, right? She's thrilled with her vest and all the patches. I'm glad, since she's worked really hard for them this year!

After that, I took another nap while Rob made some shrimp and rice for the kids. When I woke up, everyone was in bed. And here I am, ready to go back to sleep again. At least the headache is gone.

So kudos if you got through this whole novel! Hope everyone has a great week!


Well, I Did It!



I finished Chloë's jammies! They're a six, so they're pretty big on her (she still wears mostly 4/5s), but she loves them. LOVES them. And I'm so glad; it makes me happy to please the kids. Jack and Sophia are breathing down my neck to get theirs finished, but I'm not sure I'll start them tonight. Maybe tomorrow. We'll see. I still need to do my Wii tonight.

I had a rough go of it again, for just a minute, on the shorts. Same exact shorts as the (ugly) green batik ones I made the kids last summer, same exact source of confusion for me. I finally decided to just do exactly what the pattern said to do, logic be damned, and hey, it worked out! Pretty simple, really, once you get it.

So between that, shopping, dance, and a bunch o' laundry-doin', that was our day.


Sew What


I finally finished the baby blanket this morning. Well, I finished up all the crocheting last night while catching up with the DVR, but I did the seaming this morning.


The banket is almost perfect, but I left one tiny little mistake in it that I didn't catch until it was all finished. It goes along with the "only God can make perfect things" thing that I love.


I plan on crocheting a sweet little outfit to coordinate with this, but in the meantime, I have begun sewing.

Today wasn't that exciting for the kids. We watched lots of Veggie Tales while Mommy played the coupon game some more. Harris Teeter is going to be tripling coupons tomorrow, and I'm going to be getting tons of stuff we can use for free or almost-free.  I'm so excited, I can't stand it. I'm a dork, I know.

We're getting tired of the same half-dozen Veggie DVDs over and over (well, we haven't watched them in a while, but still), so I was glancing around on eBay to see what else was out there.  I found a discount coupon for movies and music, and then I realized I had an eBay gift certificate in my Paypal account from, like, a year or two ago...! So I ended up getting three new DVDs for practically nothing. A couple bucks, maybe. Sweeeeet.

But you don't care about that. You want to know what I spent the evening doing, yes? I'll imagine you saying yes.


Sewing! It's back! I'm doing it! The sewing machine was verrah dusteh.

I was reminded of a few things while getting from point A to point thing-on-the-door-above.  One, I hate ironing. Loathe it. And I hate that it's always called "pressing" in sewing. What on earth is the difference between ironing and pressing?

Two, I hate cutting out the patterns and fabric. I wish I could just buy the pieces pre-cut and immediately start sewing them up. Rob thinks there is a market for that and that I should fill the need, but hello! I don't like doing it for myself, so I don't want to do it for anyone else!

 Three, I love my seam ripper. 'Nough said. I don't know how many times (well, probably three, because that's all the times I've done sleeves) I've sewed my sleeve opening shut. Tonight, I did it again. Dammit.

It's not looking so bad though, I don't think? Definitely too big (this one's Chloë's), but she'll grow eventually. And if not, Sophie will. I'm too tired to finish it tonight, but I will do it tomorrow and then start on the jammie shorts. I totally meant to make them pants, but whoops! Swish, swish went the scissors, right through the pattern, making them shorties. Oh, well.

And now, I sleep.


There, I Said It

I said I was going to start sewing again, right after I finished whatever I was knitting at the time and then doing our 2008 and Europe scrapbooks.

Those projects have long since been finished, and instead I've begun digitally scrapping 2009 and crocheting a baby blanket.


Because I'm afraid.

I'm afraid I'm going to pick up where I left off - on the zipper of Chloë's blue dress - and still not know what to do. I'm afraid of being stuck and not having in-person help to get me through it. I'm afraid I won't know what to do. I'm afraid of messing up. I'm afraid I'll finally finish that, and it won't look good. I'm afraid of moving onto the next sewing project and being bad at that, too. I'm afraid I'll forget everything MIL taught me last year.

There. It's out there!

And maybe now I can start.


My MIL Rocks!

So I never got to post this yesterday, because I was doing my monthly online charity crochet thing and was too tired when I finished. Here we go...

Since Thursday, I've been having weird side-effects from my Side-Effexor, which helps control my bipolar disorder. Usually when I miss a dose or take it a few hours late (which I try never to do after the one or two times I have!), I not only become rapidly depressed and/or suicidal (hey, I'm an open book), but I have physical symptoms as well. Every time I move even the slightest bit, I get these weird shocks and twinges in my brain and upper body, and they don't stop when I stop moving. They interfere greatly in my daily functioning and throw me completely off balance.

Anyway, for some reason, that started (minus the depression/suicidal ideation - none of that, thank God) on Thursday and continues 'til now. The shocks are major and extremely disruptive. I HATE it and am really not looking forward to the day when I actually have to get off Effexor. BUT, I have not missed any of my meds, and have taken them completely on time, so I don't know what the deal is!

Also, I've been sobbing uncontrollably over every little thing. I mean, really, over non-things! The first time was watching Martha Stewart yesterday. She made a pretty greeting card, and I just burst into tears. Then, an audience member on her show was asking Martha's fitness trainer about pregnancy exercises, and I couldn't stop crying. WTH is that?! I'm crying right now just remembering it!

About eleventeen more times yesterday, I cried at the drop of a hat over who-knows-what. I couldn't even tell you. I do know that even though I'm sans uterus and one ovary now, I still get the hormonal changes and surges every month from my remaining ovary (TMI? Sorry). So, I attributed all the crying to that. It was - and remains - pretty ridiculous, though.

And to top it all off, I've come down with that cold! And so, it's been a very trying few days for me. But we'll get back to that.

In the afternoon, the mailman brought a delightful and completely unexpected package from my MIL. The first two things I pulled out were some lovely crocheted sets for CARE Package! Unfortunately, I don't have pictures for you, because I packaged them up and put them away already, and forgot to take them. But let me tell you, Rob's mom does beautiful work, and this was no exception!

Dollar tree ad 

The next goody in the box was Chloë's Valentine's Day Dollar Tree ad! I didn't even think to look for it yet, but it's OUT. So run, don't walk to your nearest Dollar Tree and pick up an ad; she's in there! Now both of my girls have had nationwide ads. Pretty cool, yes?

That wasn't it, though! She also sent an order for 10 boxes of cookies to send to our Gift of Caring organization, the USO for overseas military! Awesome, awesome - and it brings her total Gift of Caring sales up to 28 boxes! Go Chlo!! (For those who are interested, according to Rob, he can ship the boxes for free to Iraq or Afghanistan, so no worries about paying the shipping costs!) 

And there were the usual Box Tops and Campbell's soups labels for the kids' school, which help raise money for equipment and supplies.  Thanks, Mom! Great package, it made my day - really!!

In the evening, I had to once again make the drive up to Hampton's Sentara Careplex hospital campus. But this time, I was going to their Health and Fitness Center for a consult with a trainer. I was NOT looking forward. Not that I don't plan to exercise; I do! But for one thing, I am most definitely NOT a gym person. You either are or you aren't, according to the shrink who gave us our surgery class on Monday, and it's fine if you're not. You just have to figure out what you like to do. For another thing, I physically can not do much right now, because of the many-times-mentioned nerve damage in my back. I'm good for a maximum of two minutes in a vertical position right now.

The first thing I did, after finally tracking down my training guru, T., was inform her that I've been sobbing all day for no reason and to expect it to happen again. Which it did. Several times. Hello, embarrassing!

Then we sat and talked for a half-hour about all the expectations, goals, and exercises I can and must do after surgery, including the stretches I can start right away. I actually learned a few things, despite my snobbish "I'm a biologist and I know this stuff" attitude going in. Same thing with the nutritionist. But as Rob and I like to say, "I do fish," so I need to quit doing that and realize there are always going to be people who know more than me, particularly if that's their specialty!

T. was great. She was tiny and perky, and just exactly what I'd love to look like when I lose all my weight. Fat chance of that (seriously, she was as big as my pinky)! But she was also intelligent and knowledgeable, and that's something I can always respect and admire, of course. Plus she was nice, and not the "I'm in such good shape, and you are a mega fat ass and gross and I can't even stand to be in the same room with you" type that some gym-people definitely are!

Anyway, we made a list of all the kinds of exercise I like to do and have done in the past and will start doing again as soon as I'm able. Wanna see my list? No? Well, I'm gonna share that puppy anyway because I can do that:

  • Wii Fit (okay, so I don't actually have one and haven't ever done it, but Stephanie and my sister are loving theirs, and I plan to get one just as soon as we are able to swing it)
  • Walking - We have this big ol' family-room-taking-up fancy-schmancy treadmill, and I really should take advantage of it. It's easy, it's low-impact, and I can do it while watching TV, listening to my iPod, or even reading a magazine. And I can start immediately.
  • Rollerblading - More often than not, in college, I could be found blading around campus, and to and from work. I love it. I can't run for doody, but man I can skate! And I have a good pair waiting for me in the shoe box by the front door, so yay! Free!

  • (Windsor) Pilates - I used to do these before and after I had Sophia, and I got pretty good at it. Don't know why I stopped, but since I have all the stuff, I shall start it up again.
  • Yoga - Love me some yoga; same descriptor as the Pilates.
  • Biking - I used to ride my last summer after college, every day to work. My legs were fantastic then! I don't have a bike to ride now, but maybe by summer I'll be ready to get on one. 'Sides, the bike I rode in Miami was a men's bike borrowed from my  housemate, so maybe I can just ride Rob's. If he can bear it; it's his pride and joy. Hmm, maybe not...
  • Swimming. Y'all know I LOVE to swim, right? I tried going to the Rec Center down the road when my back started getting really bad, thinking the no-impact swimming would be great for it. I was wrong; it still wrenched up after just half a lap. So I can do some exercises in the water for resistance, and when my back is stronger, try laps again.
  • CORE workout, on the exercise ball - I own the whole set and actually like it, but I didn't really keep up with it. I'm ready to give it another go.
  • Kickboxing - just kidding. Me? Yeah, right. But who knows?
  • Stretching and Weight Lifting - I don't actually love this, but I am required by my docs to start doing it. And strength training, as we know, is just as important as cardio. We have 5- and 20-lb weights, and besides, I could always use water bottles or cans of soup.

So that's my list. It's not a short list, so I definitely should be able to find something fun to do a minimum of 4 days a week, and there's enough variation there to keep me interested. If you have back pain-friendly suggestions for me, let's hear 'em? [I've never actually been on an elliptical trainer, so if you're going to say that, my answer will be "I don't know" if it will hurt me. Everyone, but everyone, tells me to try it - but I am NOT a gym person! ;) ]

I was back home two hours after I left, feeling better about the fitness thing and more ready than ever to have this surgery and get started on my new life! And what's more, though what I really wanted for dinner was a grilled chicken sandwich from Wendy's - and even had Rob's approval to get one - I resisted the urge and went home to see what I could find for dinner. No more fast food for me for the rest of my life. Ever, ever, ever. Does Subway count? Pizza? Panera??! Moe's? (Yeah, Moe's counts, because I can't have rice anymore.) I ended up having a Healthy Choice sweet and sour chicken entrée, and it wasn't half bad. It had rice too, though, so I can't have that either!


After I ate, Sophie insisted I take her picture with one of the Wall-E posters that came with their DVD. So, here's that... and see? Her hair is starting to grow out. It's pretty shaggy looking right now (not unlike mine), so she could stand a trim.

I spent the rest of the evening on my crochet thing online, and while I was there, I started a new craft I'll show you below. When I finished, I knitted about four rows on my green baby sweater - it's finally starting to look like one now - before putting on my CPAP and conking out for the night.

The kids woke us up earlier than I would have liked this morning, and I was definitely sicker. Major cold symptoms, and I had a sore throat and huge, swollen glands. Which made me think a string of four-letter words that would make you blush if you'd heard 'em. I started praying like crazy for that to go away before Monday, because they'd postpone my surgery for sure if I showed up like that. No fever though, thank goodness!

I didn't last very long, between being sick, not having had enough sleep, and the weird twinginess from my Side-Effexor, before I headed back to the couch for a good three-hour nap. I don't know how restful it was, though, because I was plagued with horrible nightmares as I have been for several days now. (And according to an extensive internet search tonight, that's another Effexor thing! Gah!)

I felt even worse, so I chugged a bunch of OJ, and then Rob brewed me some hot tea with lemon. The prayers were in full force! And before I knew it, the gland swelling had actually started to go down, and I was feeling better and breathing easier.

We were supposed to go out and have a tax-return shop this afternoon - I usually do ours, but it pays very well and we could use the extra money - but I canceled it. Just didn't feel like going. They called me later, though, and will let me do it after I've recovered.

Anyway, the only other thing on my schedule for today was selling cookies with Miss Chlo, and since I'm bound and determined to help her meet her 172-box goal by tomorrow night, I wasn't missing it!

We stayed out for two hours and only managed to sell another 20 boxes. She was really getting frustrated, I could tell. Poor kid. She is really trying hard out there, and so many people are saying 'no' this year. It's the economy, stupid! I figured, hey, Girl Scout cookies, everyone loves those! But not so much, not this year! She has managed to sell 117 boxes so far, though, which is 69% of her goal. Awesome job, my baby! We'll go out again tomorrow and try like the dickens to make up the rest of it. And as troop cookie chair, I can always fill out her order to make it to 172 (why that number? because she'll get a cookie credit that pays for her registration for next year) and use the extra boxes when we continue selling after the Initial Order is due, and at booth sales. Not stressing it. Much.

Mucho cleaning was in session when Curly Sue and I returned home. The kids have been cleaning their room ALL DAY yesterday and today, and they are STILL not clean.  Why? Because the are unsupervised while doing it, which just doesn't work for them. Our kids need to be told "do this, pick up that, put those away, throw it in the garbage, etc." or they just won't get it done. They'll play instead, or just sit there, or go to sleep! When it's me telling them to clean, I sit there with them and do that. Daddy, no. Since the goal is to have this house looking decent before Julie comes, they better get on the ball tomorrow! But I doubt she'll care either way, so again, not stressing it. Much.

As for me, I went upstairs too, to delve into the laundry. No surprise there, we had a huge mountain of it to fold and put away. Rob's been washing and drying it for me (us), but that's as far as he goes! I sat there for a couple hours folding it and putting as much away as my back could tolerate;  the kids will help me with the rest tomorrow, I suppose.

I had the brilliant idear to send Rob out for Panera for our dinner. Who knows if I'll ever be able to partake of the loveliness that is Panera again? And so, it was my Last Supper before Fat Me kicks the bucket and New Me emerges. And behold, it was good. Very, very good. I savored it for as long as I could.



This is the latest side project that I've been working on today: hand-sewn felt hearts with fiberfill stuffing. Why? I'm going to make a mobile or something for a Valentine's Day decoration for the kids. Not quite sure yet. The kids are having a ball with the hearts alone, so I hope they really love what I end up doing.  Cute, no?

Sorry this was so long. I'll leave you alone now and go back to my knitting and heart-sewing. Hope you're having a swell weekend!


Something Pressing To Do

Foiled again.

I tried to be good. I went to bed much earlier than usual last night, so I could get up early with the kids, go do my errands, and then take them to the pool until Daddy got home. We haven't swum since the end of May, so we're due for a pool visit.

Instead, I was up at 0600 with an upset stomach, and I was shivering and feeling awful. When it was all over, I went downstairs to rest on the couch until they got up. Only, I fell back to sleep. And it was late morning before I woke up again.


Oh, well. No sense berating myself for it; what's done is done.


I just love Chloë's profile, especially when her glasses are missing and I can see it.

I got right up with the kids and we sprang to work in the kitchen, assembling our ingredients, preheating our oven and preparing ourselves to bake chocolate chip banana bread.

100_7048 First, Sophia mashed up our three extremely overripe nanners.

100_7049 Next, Chloë whisked in a few eggs.

100_7050 Jack dumped in the shortening, and Chloë added the sugar.

100_7051 Sophia mixed it all up, after adding the vanilla.

100_7053 They added the rest of the ingredients, and Chloë mixed it all up.

100_7055 Voilà! The kids dumped it into the pan {note to self: really must buy loaf pans!}, and their very own chocolate chip banana bread was ready to go into the oven!

100_7057 During the 75-minutes baking time, Jack played downstairs with his cars, and the sisters took turns perched atop the fainting couch and sliding down it. Then they all took turns cuddling in my arms and singing lullabyes with me. Sophia didn't know many of the words, but she sung along anyway. This caused mucho hysterics on my part, and she laughed as hard as I did. It was a fun time.

100_7058 It's ready!

100_7059 Jack was the first lucky boy to dig in, once it cooled enough. He gave it his stamp of approval and demanded some margarine.

100_7060 Any chance to show off the Fiestaware...

Daddy came home just as we were starting to dig in, so he enjoyed his piece, too. Then we showered and got ready to go out. We'd gotten some really good Moe's (Welcome to Moe's!) coupons, and Chloë was asking to go for her special dance recital dinner, so I looked up online to see if there was a Moe's mystery shop available. There was! Score.

Dinner was great, even though there were still no tomatoes for salsa, and even though the smoke from the North Carolina wildfires was too overpowering to let us sit outside. They way overstuffed our burritos with yummy good stuff.

Jack didn't want to eat his quesadillas. Just chips. Nope, not this time. I told him if he didn't take at least one good bite of his quesa, he was going right to bed when we got home.

Guess who went right to bed when he got home?

That's right, it didn't work. He didn't eat. He cried a whole bunch about going to bed, though. Oh, well! One thing I'm adamant about is following through; no empty threats here!

Once home, I sat outside in the nice evening air and called my father in Ohio. I never did reach him for Father's Day. He's doing well up there, just getting used to life there as opposed to South Carolina. It was good to hear from him.

100_7061 Rob snapped this picture of Sophia once again up on her perch. She was also reaching back behind herself and licking her foot. Girlfriend is mighty flexible, which is why I'm going to go with the majority from the poll and put her in gymnastics this fall! I did manage to call and get the details from them about that; it's comparable in cost to dance class, and she can start anytime since it's a year-round program. Should be fun! Thanks for the help!

100_7075 Stephanie soon joined us to have some cheesecake, again in celebration of Chloë's dance recital. It was supposed to be Friendly's, but we had all these Schwan's desserts already and decided to save our moulah. It was pretty good!  (The slices are bigger than theirs, which I'd cut in half for them to share.) I should have made some strawberres because I'm God, to put on top.

After dessert, Rob took the girls upstairs to bathe and get ready for bed, while Stephanie and I drove to Walgreen's so I could pick up my prescriptions. We got there, though, and I realized I'd forgotten my checkbook at home! Gah!

So we drove home, picked that up, and ran to Farm Fresh. I'm out of salt and wipey-wipes, and she needed chicken and rice for her poor sick doggies.  Then we went back to Walgreen's. Now I'm stocked up on my drugs for the cruise. Another item crossed off my list. Whee!

She soon said goodbye, and I decided to start back in on sewing Chloë's blue dress. It was not off to an auspicious start, however, when I couldn't even thread the darn needled and had to call in the troops for support. Took Rob a while, too, but he finally got it after cutting that fat yarn at an angle. So I was on my way to press some seams when I realized it was time to post my nightly blahg entry.

Time to get back to my ironing. Oh, how I toil.


Ah, Father's Day

Today wasn't especially awesome for the Daddy in the household today. He had to stand watch again from 0530 to 1730. Is it me, or does every stinkin' holiday fall to my husband for duty?

So it fell to me to bring the Littles along to the theater for Chloë's dress rehearsal today. At first, I couldn't figure out where to drop off Chloë; she's supposed to go in the back, stage door, and no one else is allowed to enter except for drop-off and pick-up. The normal drop-off door was blocked for AC repair, though, and I didn't know there was another door. So we had to walk two entire city blocks to get back around to the front, in the heat, with three kids and only two hands, plus my magazine, camera, and her costume. We get to the main entrance, only to be told we have to go to the other door (there's another door?), where they're now letting people in. Gah. We trooped back around, dropped off our ballerina, and walked back to the front again. 

Meanwhile, I was illegally parked the whole time in a private lot, and there was no where to park my car on the street. So we dodged traffic to get across to the pilates store next to the lot, where I planned to ask permission to use their lot for two hours, only to find it closed on Sundays. I took that as permission granted, said a silent prayer that my van would till be there when we were all finished, and ran back across the street to the main entrance of the theater with the non-twins in tow.

Have I mentioned that this "June Show," as they refer to it instead of a "recital," is in a professional theatre in downtown Norfolk? They do things very classy-like at her dance academy. Lots of rules. No makeup, no jewelry, hair must be in a bun, arrive and depart only in street clothes, no flash photography, no pictures or video on Show night, yadda yadda. I actually like it that way. They pride themselves on providing a real dance education, and after all, that's what we're paying for!


100_7036 By the time we got ourselves seated, it was almost Chloë's turn to come out with her duet partner (that's right, there's only one other little girl in her class this year; guess they all chose Saturdays instead of Tuesdays) to check for positioning on the stage. This is Chloë with her instructor, Miss Ashley, deciding what tape marks to stand on for their dance.

Soon after that, a very tall 6-foot-plus woman sat directly in front of us. You'll see her getting up in the following video of Chloë's run-through of her dance. I'm sorry about the quality, my video doesn't like to focus properly when I'm zoomed in.


 Aren't they cute? Keep in mind, she's only six. I can see a lot of improvement, especially in remembering the dance, over last year when I was in hysterics over her little forgetfulness. It was a hoot.

While we waited, Jack and Sophia confirmed that it was a brilliant idea to hire Stephanie to babysit tomorrow night instead of trying to bring them along to the Show like we did last year. They weren't too bad for dress rehearsal day, but for Show night, they would have been far too loud and fidgety for anyone's pleasure. When the actual music and dancing started, Sophia went into the aisle and danced along. She was so sweet! She twirled and leaped and sashayed. Which brings me to my poll: We have long been planning to put her in gymnastics this year, because she loves to do tumbling and because she is extremely flexible (this is the girl who can lick her own elbow and almost kiss her own tushy!). But now she says she wants to dance like the girls on the stage. What do you think?


Day O' Beauty

Welp, I stayed up 'til 0500 attempting to sew three pairs of matchy-matchy shorts. Finally around 0200, I woke Rob up from the couch where he was snoozing, because I was absolutely losing my mind trying to follow the damn pattern. I stitched, unstitched, and restitched countless times, and it Just. Wasn't. Working. I emailed an exasperated message to MIL, who was probably throwing her hands up at my density from afar!  But Rob, my professional seamstress husband, couldn't figure it out either.

We spent over an hour ransacking the internet for something that would help us put together a simple pair of kids' shorts. We knew what to do. We had the pictures. We had the diagrams. We had the pithy instructions. We just didn't have the know-how.

Finally, I decided to make a teeny-tiny doll-sized pattern of the shorts. I freehand drew on some scrap fabric with a pencil and came up with a reasonable facsimile of the actual pattern pieces, minus the pockets. Screw the pockets! I started fiddling around with the pieces when it became absolutely clear: it was physically impossible to make the shorts the way the directions were written.  It just couldn't be done!

So I did to the pieces what it made sense to me to do, after reviewing instructions from MIL, Rob, and way, way back 20 years in home-ec class, and it worked! I made this wee pair of shorts that, incidentally, fit perfectly on my husband's schlong (yes, he tried them on "it," because that's just the way we are and just be glad I spared you the picture):

100_7035 Of course, no hems.

So within an hour, I had stitched together two identically-sized pairs of shorts for the non-twins and was debating what to do about Chloë's! Of course, we were quite pleased to finally have a resolution after hours of feeling like the dumbest people on Earth. It's not a feeling to which we were accustomed!

By that point, though, I was too tired to take out hundreds of small stitches, so I gave up and joined Rob on the couch for a few hours' sleep.

When I woke up, Jack was sitting next to me, and Chloë and Rob were gone to her audition for a NY agent. It was a no-pressure try-out, since she already has a New York agent. She just needs the practice.

I was just getting into the shower when they returned. Apparently the woman told Chloë she did a good job and was going to be famous! We shall see about that...

100_7021 I left the house with instructions for Rob to give Jack these clothes and Sophia those clothes and take some pictures outside of them in their non-twin-set. The shirts are enormous; I'd bought a bunch of the smallest size they had at Michael's when they were 6/$10, with no real purpose in mind.

100_7022 So, yeah, though the waistbands fit, they are still kind of swimming in the shorts. That's okay, they'll have them a few years.

100_7023 Sophia loved her outfit and wore it all day long, but Jack couldn't wait to peel it off and get back into his beloved blue outfit he'd picked out for the day. He wants what he wants and he wants it now!

What do you think? I know, they are not exactly stylin', but I did the thing, anyway.

So my appointment was at my salon, where I was to get my most expensive 'do ever.  Normally I'm pretty cheap about taking care of my hair, although I would rather pay more for a decent cut, but I've always colored it myself at home. Not this time! I wanted something good for Europe.

Well, I was there almost three hours, and I wish I could tell you all the observations I made while there. I had good blog fodder, but now  I've forgotten it! Other than this: the woman in the chair next to me mentioned that she homeschools her children. But she was using the word "retarded" repeatedly in conversation, either blissfully unaware or not caring that it has become a major faux pas to do so in today's society. Is that really the sort you want educating their own young? Not for me. They are talking about it being illegal to homeschool unless you at least have a college degree, and I can't say that's the worst idea I've ever heard...

But enough about that; I know such an opinion will be controversial amongst my readers!

So after I was tortured pampered for so long, I went up front to pay my bill. I was so stunned by the cost (but of course, I didn't show it) that I forgot to buy the shampoo I needed. All I could think at the time was, Gee, I feel like the President or something...

100_7027But I did like the cut and color. See? I decided to go a little lighter, you know, for summer? I think it looks lighter IRL than in the picture. And ignore the silly look on my face; I was being goofy for Rob.

Afterward, I moseyed a few doors down to the ceramics studio, thinking it might be a good place to take the kids this summer, especially on a Monday when the pool is closed. Well, instead of answering my questions, the proprietor just handed me a sheet of paper, saying, "I think this will tell you everything you need to know." Not hardly! How exasperating. Can't you just have a conversation with me?? NO ONE else was in the store, after all. And come to find out, they are closed on Mondays, too. Ugh!

I called Rob to see how he and the chillens were doing, asking permission to go get my nail fixed. That's right, the superglue didn't hold and it fell off again that evening. Very annoying. Permission was granted, so I headed on over to that salon. I walked in and they were packed. Of course, Saturday afternoon! I was embarrassed to find myself flipping those fine ladies off when telling them the problem - it was my middle finger, after all! But they seemed to take no notice and told me to have a seat. It was another hour before I was finished, but I finally walked out, free of charge, good as new.

I was famished by then, since it was after 1600 and I hadn't eaten yet today. I called Rob to see if he wanted a sub or not, and he did, so I went in. The tomatoes were back on the menu, and I asked the guy if they were okay now. Duh, of course he was going to say yes, they put them out. But I'd been in a couple of days ago when signs were up that they weren't going to be serving them, so I figured if they had them, they were all right, right?

Rob was in the middle of eating his sub (his were the tomatoes; I don't eat them) when I got an urgent email about the Moe's shop (Welcome to Moe's!) I'm going to be doing this week, saying there must be no tomatoes behind the counter, yadda yadda. Were they safe after all? Rob did a little research online and finally decided to go ahead and eat them. Cross your fingers he doesn't get sick!

When I got home, after eating, I got back to work at the sewing machine. I finally decided, instead of ripping out all those stitches, to just cut the pieces apart and have the shorts be smaller and, probably, fit better. I had the shorts done in about 20 minutes, just in time for Chloë to wake up from her nap and try them on.

100_7032 I know, this is a ridiculous, hideous picture. We'd just given her her allowance, so she decided to pose with that, and her stance makes the shorts look all bunchy. But she was thrilled with them and decided to keep them on for the rest of the night. I love that my girls love their handmade clothes so much, regardless of how well they're made.

And yes, I continue to make stupid goofs. I have a hem on the outside of Chloë's freaking shorts!!! By that point, I just didn't care anymore, since it was obvious these were going to be relegated to the 'playclothes' category.

And I immediately started (I want to say 'casting on,' but alas, this isn't knitting and the term doesn't apply) cutting out the pattern for one of the matching dresses I'm going to make the girls (in the blue, if you remember it) - and I totally forgot to cut out the notches on the first piece of fabric! Gahhhh!! What is wrong with me? I swear, sewing turns me into a bumbling idiot.

But I'm still enoying it! I bet Rob can't wait until I go back to my hobbies where I'm not constantly calling upon him for help.

100_7026 Jack came down, wanting a snack, so he and Chlo were given an ice cream sandwich. We have tons of Schwan's ice cream in the freezer right now, and it's delicious! We've also tried the spinach artichoke appetizers and the cream cheese wontons, and we liked them very much, too. Just giving you a little update on how that's going, for those who were interested!

Edit to add: I got the book My Sister's Keeper in the mail today, a surprise from my MIL after talking about it but my not being able to find it at the library. Yay! I can't wait to read it; seems like I'm the last person I know who has. But I'm resisting the urge to stay up all night reading it. I'm going to save it for the cruise - well, the flights, anyway. Don't spoil it for me!

After dinner (frozen pizza, if you must know), it was story time for the kids. We read... oh, what is it called. That Enchanted Princess movie that came out a while ago, with Patrick Dempsey? But in book form. I so hate the children's books that are written after the movie. They are always so lame, and they skip so much anyway, it doesn't make sense unless you've seen the movie. But that's what they picked, so that's what they read. Ooh, I forgot to mark it on their sheets, thanks for reminding me. Summer Reading Program, we are still with ya!

The kids went to bed, and then Rob and I settled down to watch The Bucket List while I crocheted on Steph's baby dress. It's comin' along, my dear. And it was a good movie. We laughed, and I cried. Rob gave it a five; I guess I agree and can happily recommend it.

In health news, since you didn't ask, I had a lot of that problem with my eye today. I still feel like something is pressing on my left eyeball, and I couldn't help but think "brain tumor brain tumor brain tumor" whenever I had that sensation. I'm not joking around; two of my friends have actually had brain tumors, so the probability of my having one, too, has got to be slim! Like I said, it just better not strike me down during our cruise.

That's about all, folks. Happy Father's Day to all the daddies out there!


TenThings About My Day

  1. We overslept and missed Chloë's bus this morning. Surprise! So I had to wake everyone up and drive her to school. At least she looked cute in her new outfit from Aunt Gail: 100_7017

2.  I sewed this head scarf for "Jack," which I say because although it's a one-size-fits-all kids pattern, clearly it's big on Rob: 100_7018
3.  But at least I followed the directions carefully, and it seems to be right, quality notwithstanding.

4.  I barely slept last night (hence the oversleeping), so I was excited when the kids all wanted naps. I took a long one. Now I hope I can sleep tonight. Vicious fecking cycle.

5.  Our freezer and deep freezer are now stocked to the brim with entrées, appetizers and side dishes, veggies, desserts and ice cream from Schwan's. I'd never ordered from them or eaten their food before, but I thought I'd give it a try after seeing their trucks in our neighborhood so many times. The guy called me up a couple of days ago, wanting to make sure I had enough freezer space for everything I ordered. I assured him I had enough. Heh. There were five ENORMOUS bags full, and I had to do about a half-hour of work rearranging things. In the end, everything fit except the three boxes of frozen pizza I already had, which I put in the fridge for dinner tonight, three packages of frozen pie crusts from Christmas-time, which I freecycled, and a box of microwaveable Monkey Bread, which Sophia and I broke down and had for breakfast.

6. When Rob got home, he cleaned the kitchen, the kids cleaned up their toys, and I vacuumed the downstairs. Looks much better now. Won't last the weekend.

7. I sewed while he cooked that pizza and the kids watched one of their new movies we won. They enjoyed having a pizza picnic in the living room, since my sewing was all over the kitchen table.

8. Think I'm going to work on Steph's baby dress and convince Rob to watch The Bucket List with me. Did you see it?? What did you think of it? We watched The Savages last night, and I thought it was just kind of eh. Mediocre. Although Laura Linney was good and I love Philip Seymour Hoffman.

9. The young man who I asked to come and give me an estimate on fixing up our garden (oh, it is a mess, y'all) came and did so. I nearly fainted. $150 to do a little weeding and pruning? No, thanks. It'll keep until we do it ourselves. He wanted the same to paint our outside trim, which is badly in need. I talked it over with Rob. He finds that acceptable. All right, then.

10. I forgot to make any phone calls today. Didn't call about the discrepancy in Jack's shot record, didn't call to make my appointments, didn't call anyone. I don't even know where my phone is.  Suppose I oughtta go find it...


You Know Things Hurt More In Your Shoe!

It's always crazy around here on half-days. Today and tomorrow are the last two days of school for my kids, and they are "adjusted dismissal" days. Half days. Just go on, you can say it.

I had no idea what time to expect Jack's bus this morning, given that she is so variable on regular days. I was thinking 10:15, so I was lazily checking email this morning at 9:38 when Jack shouted from the kitchen, "MOMMMMM! My bus is here!!!" Wha? Thank goodness it was only a half-day, as I hadn't bothered to put anything in his lunch box yet. I sent him out, for the first time, without his backpack. He was completely bewildered by this. I had to tell him three times that it was all right before he was convinced.

Of course, I should have sent it. He came home with his hands full of papers!

And his AM bus driver walked up to the door to show me she had a picture of Jack, and a picture frame, but his picture was too big for the frame. She wanted me to have it anyway. Which makes me feel rotten that I haven't gotten anything for the teachers and bus drivers. Wait. There is still time to run to Farm Fresh for some gift cards. Should I go?

Nah, I think I'll just have them write letters/make pictures like my friend Jen over at the Daily Mish Mash suggested. We need to save all our pennies for Europe right now, too!

Movie mosaic

So when Sophia finally woke up, I put her in her favorite new sundress before setting off for Chloë's school. We had to pick up the awesome movie prize pack we won from their Relay For Life raffle. It contained:

The huge popcorn bucket

Four new DVDs

Four boxes of movie theatre popcorn

Two bottles of Green Tea with Citrus (ick)

and substantial gift cards to AMC Theatres and Blockbuster!

Totally worth the $5 I paid for my six raffle tickets, I thought as we lugged our loot back to the sweltering van. I just hoped that chocolate wouldn't melt in the summer heat. I think it came out all right.

Back at home, Sophia insisted we open everything in the "party box," as she called it, right away. She was so excited about it and couldn't wait for Bro and Sis to get home so they could watch a movie and, of course, eat some snacks. "I loooove snacks!" proclaimed Soapy.

By the way, birdies of all shapes and sizes are her favorite animals. Jack's are bunnies and Chloë's are kitties. What you'll do with that information is up to you, but I just thought I'd share now that it's become so clear.

100_7007 Next things Soap wanted to do was color in her sister's new coloring book. I didn't see the harm, so I sat and watched as she oh-so-carefully scribbled with ten different colors all in the same spot and then declared that page finished. She did that on two more pages before she'd had enough with that activity. She wanted some "juice," and by that, she meant the green tea.

100_7012 I let her have at it, after I'd had a big swig and decided it was not for me, or, I was sure, her father. Here she was, sitting quietly drinking her tea at the table, so I got back to work sewing Chloë's shorts.

Y'all. I have made a lot of mistakes with these shorts. The inside-out and pocket mishaps of yesterday were just the beginning. I sewed the crotch all wrong, and now it looks like the wearer has been riding a horse for too long. I knew it didn't look right but figured it would just fix itself as I proceeded. The directions said nothing of the right way to do it, which I have since learned from my former home-ec teacher MIL, who is valiantly trying to teach my dumb ass to sew from halfway across the country! Of course, I'm now ten steps ahead of the crotch (that doesn't sound good), so I have a lot of ripping out to do. Sigh. It just doesn't come easy to me, this sewing business.

Jack's bus pulled up a mere two hours after he left, so it was time to stash the sewing for a while. You have to keep your eye on that one. Shortly after that, Chloë arrived, wanting to know what was new.

What's new?! What's new, you ask? I have new things for you today, my dear!

First, I showed her and Jack all the goodies we'd won from her school. She was just mystified that I could have snuck into and out of her school without her spotting me. I'm a sneaky one, my dear.

Then, I showed her the packages that their Aunt Gail had mailed from them, apparently just for some summer fun.

100_7010 Sophia received the most adorable outfit ever, which she insisted on changing into right away. Cuteness personified!! I want to make that!

100_7013 It always amuses me when two or more of the kids are opening presents at the same time, but they're so interested in what the other person got, they're not looking at their own goody! Jack's eyes were glued to Chloë's new outfit (which she dubbed "a China shirt," after the also-embroidered she-dubbed "China outfit" that we actually bought her in Morroco, in Epcot!), so much so that he nearly missed the fact that he'd gotten a new pair of Cars swim trunks! This brought much glee on his part.


Next, the kids gathered 'round as Chloë opened their group present, a summer catching toy for outside! I'm saving it for when they go to Stephanie's, so they have something new to play with and retain their interest.

Cookies Gail also sent this freaking awesome cookie cookbook, which has tons of mouth-watering recipes for every cookie imaginable. I haven't even used it yet, but I can already tell it's going to be my go-to book for cookies now! Mmm, I'm salivating. You must get this book!!

Thanks for our goodies, Gail! Love 'em, love 'em, love 'em (that's a quote from Chloë's monologue, btw).

Once that fun was over, the kids were clamoring for their promised candy. I let them pick the movie (All Dogs Go To Heaven, which is way more violent than I'd remembered from my own days watching it as a kid) and the candy (JuJubes, I think). They settled in, and I picked up my fuzzy yarn for the scarf that man had ordered for his daughter, and which I'd completely forgotten about yet again. Whoops. I used to be able to knock out the whole scarf in two hours. This time, being rusty and having fakety-fake nails on, I barely got past the keyhole before the movie ended. Oy. I'm not looking forward to finishing it, but I'll go do that tonight after I finish this.

Once the movie was over, the kids were acting ornery and bossy and pushy and not-so-nice. I gave them the choice: naptime, or clean up the living room time. They chose naptime, small wonder. Once they were in their rooms, I lay down "for a quick shut-eye," I told myself. I didn't wake up for hours! Way later than I'd planned, and Stephanie was on her way over to babysit!

I hopped into the shower as Rob was getting home, very late from work. Of course when we've got somewhere to go, he gets stuck in traffic. It's a rule, you know.

Anyway, we went out, had dinner, had some drinks, laughed a whole bunch and generally enjoyed each other's company. I'm so thankful for that. He didn't feel well, though, and barely touched his dinner. And we were stuck in a booth with an immovable table, and I barely had room to breathe. It sucks to be fat!

Back at home, Rob took the kids upstairs to get ready for bed, and Jack turned around and peed in the laundry! He was wide awake, so there was just no excuses for it. What the HELL?!! Why would he DO that??  I am just completely baffled by it. Completely baffled.

Oh! I almost forgot. I've had multiple requests for the bread recipe and for the story about why I deserved to be peed on. First, the bread. The recipe is from here, but I will post it below for those of you who are as lazy as I am:


  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water (110 degrees to 115 degrees F)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • Cornmeal


  1. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add the sugar, salt, garlic salt, cheese and 2 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
  2. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  3. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Shape each half into a 14-in. loaf. Place on a greased baking sheet that has been sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
  4. Brush loaves with water. Make three diagonal slashes about 1/2 in. deep with a very sharp knife in each loaf.
  5. Fill a 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking pan with 1 in. of hot water and place on the bottom oven rack. Preheat to 400 degrees F. Bake loaves for 20-25 minutes. Remove to wire racks.

And now, your story.

Rob hates to be poked in the sides. Haaates it. It makes him jump and squeal like a little girl. For that reason, I do it all the time. ALLLL the time. He asks me constantly to stop. I have tried. I just can't help myself. So one time, he was in the bathroom taking a leak, and I came up to him with my finger a-twitchin'. He knew that look, so he warned me, "If you poke me, I'm going to pee on you!" I laughed and poked him anyway. With that, he turned and peed up and down the whole front of me, clothes on and everything.

And that's the rest of the story.


Waiter, There's A Fly In My Whine

I have no pictures of FOs (finished objects) for you today.

I didn't crochet on the little Stephanie dress today.

I did make two loaves of my now-famous cheesy garlicky Italiany bread, to bring to Bunco.

After that, I started to make Chloë's pair of the green batik shorts. I messed up, though, and cut on the right side in some places and the wrong side in other places, so half her shorts are right-side-out and half will be inside-out. You can't really tell, though, due to the nature of the fabric, and anyway I think it's hilarious so I'm going to keep them that way as a reminder.

The pockets got messed up, too, and I had to rip-rip-rip twice to put them in the right way. At least I think they're in the right way. They don't stick up and they don't stick down. Only, they're supposed to be up higher than they are. Much, much higher. I've decided to leave them that way, too. You know. Reminder.

Now I'm stuck, on the casing for the elastic waist. I just don't know what to do. Fold this down, fold that up, but what and where?  Rob is asleep and refusing to answer his phone (my preferred method over standing at the bottom of the stairs and hollering up at him; his preferred method over me walking upstairs and dumping a glass of ice cold water on him) (I've only done that once and he really deserved it) (One time he peed on me and I really deserved it) (I like parentheses), so I think I'm going to have to leave it that way until tomorrow. Which sucks, because now what am I going to do during the day tomorrow?

Oh yeah, crochet. And read to Sophie. And pick up the raffle prize I won from Chloë's school's Relay For Life team.

Where was I?

So yeah, I started the shorts, and then Stephanie came to bring me to Bunco. It was a long way out in her brandy-new Toyota Tundra, so we talked all about the details of our European trip and her watching the kiddos. There are a lot of details. Good thing, because we like to talk about them.  I called T-Mobile to set up the worldwide service, so now she can call me any time of the day or night if someone breaks their arm or someone's homesick or something. And I can call her because I'm homesick for my babies. Good deal.

{Steph, remind me to give you the number for our cabin on the ship, too. You can call there. And you never emailed me tonight with that other information!!}

Where was I?

Oh yeah, Bunco. It was lots of fun, as usual. I was glad to be around my friendy-friends, as usual. Carolyn was a big pain in the ass bitch, as usual. Man, I can't stand her. Someone needs to find a way to kick her out of the group, I swear. I could talk your ear off about all the ways she annoys me - and everyone else. It's not me. I know it's not. Everyone commiserates. Don't care if I spelled that right!

My bread got all eaten up, and I was so pleased, I've decided that's what I'm making every time. The rest of the food was really good tonight, too.  I was able to eat a decent dinner; half the time, it's all beef and desserts. And I won a prize - the Avon (I guess?) Empowerment bracelet in support of (well, you know what I mean) domestic violence. It's pretty cool. Except I think I'm allergic to it.

Time to go dump some ice water on Rob's head.

(Not really.)



Out Slumming

Welp, because I was up all night being sick to my stomach, I was pretty much worthless during the day today. I wanted to do something crafty with Sophia, but I just felt weak and not up to it. I'm afraid we watched entirely too much Noggin today.


In the afternoon, the mailman rang the bell and dropped a box on my porch. It was for the CAT, the monthly charity crochet-a-thon that I do. This month, CARE Package is a co-sponsor, so we're getting some handmade donations. These are the first, from Linda G. in New York. She made two blanktets and three sweaters. They're beautiful, thanks Linda!

By the time Chloë came home from school, I was feeling more revived. I wanted to go out and do some things, but I didn't have the energy yet to go upstairs and take a shower. So I took my nasty-ass self out, with no bra on, no shower, no teeth or hair brushed, with the kids - Sophie still in PJs, no less - to the public library to sign them up for the summer reading program that started today. We've never done it before, but now that I have a reader, it's time! I didn't know reading to littler ones counted too, so I signed them all up. When they complete ten hours of reading time, they get prizes and incentives! It should be fun for them. Steph, will you keep up the reading for us whilst we're in Europe? Only two more weeks to go!

By the way, it was over 100 degrees out, and when I haven't showered, I sweat even more. So I know exactly how gross I was and that I should be embarrassed for my ghetto behavior. I was!

Sewing mosaic

After the library, Rob called to say he was home. Perfect! I swung over to the house and picked him up, and then we five headed to the fabric store. MIL has created a monster; now I want to do more and more sewing and learn wth I'm doing. I'm not going to make all their clothes from now on, oh no, but it will be fun to make them some matchy-matchy stuff.


I bought six different kinds of patterns, each with multiple variations, and the fabric and 'notions' for four of them:

100_6980 This little dress will be made with the blue flowers for Chloë and the pink flowers for Sophia. Otherwise, except for size, they'll be identical. What's cute about this fabric, which you can't see because it's folded inside-out, is that there are little sparkles all over it. The girls love it!

100_6979 This will be a pretty little ruffly dress for both girls. I'm going to be working with lining and netting, so I'll probably say a lot of bad words over this one!

100_6978 With this cute little froggy fabric, I'm going to make some adorable little scrubs-type jammies for all three of the kids. I can see using this pattern again and again!

100_6977 With this cool green batik fabric, I'm going to make matching shorts for all three kids and the bandanna head covering for Jack. I'll probably just buy matching tank tops (or whatever) so I don't have to mess with stretchy knits.

How'd I do, Mom???100_6974

Rob surprised me by giving me these "made by Mom" labels to sew into the kids' clothes. I thought that was really sweet of him!

100_6976 After we did all that damage in the fabric store, we headed to Michael's. A gentleman in the blogosphere has purchased a scarf, the kind I still have up on the fundraising page for CARE Package.  I sent Rob in there, with the 50%-off coupon, of course, while I ducked into Panera next door, with the kiddies, to order dinner to take home. It was already after 8 PM, after all. I was finished and back in the car before Rob got out of Michael's! Men.

Turns out they didn't have the colorway of yarn the man wanted for his little girl, so he had to buy the next closest thing. We'll see if it passes muster. In the meantime, between that, all my sewing goodies, and the little sundress I just started crocheting tonight for Steph's little niece, I have my hands full with projects!

Now I think it's time to take that shower...


P.S. At the fabric store, I found shawls and wraps on sale for $2.50 each! So I bought three for the cruise, in pink, black and ivory. Sweet!

P.P.S. Confidential to MIL: There were NO Jodi Picoult books at my library! I'll have to wait awhile if I want to read My Sister's Keeper. Bummer.

A Seamstress I Am Not

Big sigh, y'all. Big sigh.

At least I woke up this morning feeling awake and refreshed, after the previous days of excessive sleepiness. I even used my CPAP last night for the first time in... well, weeks, I believe. I didn't have to lie down after getting Chloë on the bus and before getting Jack up this morning, so I puttered about online and looking through my patterns and yarns and things.

Jack woke up a little early and was demanding breakfast, so I sat down to share a bowl of cereal and the paper with him. It's always nice to sit with my boy in the morning when he's usually at his sweetest. Soon, Sophie joined us, and we played a little together before school. His bus came very late today, a full half-hour later than it did yesterday or whenever it was early. Ridiculously inconsistent!

Barbara was coming, so Sophia and I ran upstairs for me to shower and to get ourselves dressed. She insisted on wearing a dress today, not surprisingly. She just loves them, and getting to wear her pink sparkly shoes! I did the last load of laundry (phew! For an instant in time, it was all done) and put some away, and when Barbara came, I quit. Time to go.

Our first stop was Hancock Fabrics. I gave up waiting for Rob to go with me to the fabric store to help pick out everything I needed for the pattern MIL sent me (for a Sophia dress) and took it upon myself to just ask for assistance. Well, well. The lady was grumpy and irritated by my lack of knowledge about what I needed. "What are you making?" she snapped. I held up my pattern envelope. "Well, which one, there's lots of different things there?!" Grr.  At least I knew from MIL to pick out dual duty thread, and I saw it right away!

100_6902 In the end, I ended up with this stripey fabric that Sophia picked out, the only 3/8" buttons I could find (at least they go) and lime green thread because I thought I wanted an accent color. I have since learned that beginners don't want to accent the mistakes they expect not to make but invariably will! Shoulda gone with pink.

100_6903 What do you think? Will I be able to make this??  I know, the picture is muy terrible.

After the fabric store, it was time for our old standby cleaning-day lunch at Panera. We got the usual soup and sandwich and yogurt, and I looked over the little pattern preview booklet I picked up for the sole purpose of looking at during lunch. I decided there was lots in there I wanted to make for the kids and that sewing was my new favorite hobby, even though I hadn't done it since seventh grade (we're talking 20 years, y'all) and had no idea what I was doing.

After lunch, we ran next door to the Kmart, so I could look for card tables. I'm hosting Bunco in July, right after the cruise, and I want to be ready this time. I quickly found what I was looking for, along with an iron after remembering ours was kaput, some new sewing scissors (can't have enough scissors!), Almond Roca (have you had this? Someone brought it to one Bunco and I've been searching for it ever since), and Tic-Tacs for Sophie. We waited a dog's age for someone to go to the back and fetch two table-and-chairs sets for me, to bring out to the car, and my back was killing me with all the standing around. But, I got what I needed.

Exxon-Mobile, or whatever they're calling themselves these days, was next. So much for filling up only once a month; I think someone must be siphoning my gas in the middle of the night! Where's it all going so quickly? I didn't even get 300 miles out of this tank. Eighty bloody dollars later, we were on our way again.

Home again, home again, to wait for Jack's bus. Luckily, Barbara was finished and long gone, so I was greeted with the always-pleasant sight of a newly clean-all-at-once home. This never lasts even to the end of the day, so I go berserk making sure everyone takes off shoes at the front door and picks up after themselves to make it last as long as possible. It's already a wreck again. Sigh.

100_6904 While we waited for Jacky, I pored over my purchases and had a beverage with Soap. She was holding her cup in such a strange way, I had to take a picture. She is a quirky one! She still has those wonderful apple cheeks I love to kiss so much.

I decided the grumpy fabric store lady was wrong and that I did need fusible interfacing and elastic cord after all, because it was printed right there that I did, and maybe she was having a bad day and wanted to sabotage mine? So when Rob came home early, I sent him back to Hancock's to get that stuff and maybe some new fabric that wasn't striped. MIL told me to get a small print to hide my mistakes, and I disobeyed. "But they're tiny stripes!" I protested to her on the phone during one of my I-can't-DO-this calls. In the end, he forgot to buy fabric and came home with all kinds of other notions for me, and what the heck, I was in business.

Oh, but then, my Dad called to tell me his dog died. Very sad. Chelsea was much beloved by my father. Say what you will about him (and I do), but he loves dogs. However, he knew she was ailing for quite a while and never bothered taking her to the vet. When my sister called me later, she made the snarky comment that this particular course of action (seeing a sick loved one, depending on prayer for healing, not seeking emergency medical help when it was apparently needed, and dealing with a sudden death) didn't work with our mother, so why should he surprised when it didn't help the dog? Anyway. That's a whole 'nother post.

While the kids were upstairs supposedly resting but really being quite active, Rob began to show me how to work the sewing machine. He sews for a living, y'know. I told him tonight I will never again take for granted the things he can do with a sewing machine. Boy howdy, it kicked my arse today. I like threading the machine. All those ins and outs are fun.

100_6905 We had to stop before I could actually do anything to go to the AR (Accelerated Reading) Pizza Party at Chloë's school. She earned enough AR points to reach the "Ultimate Achiever" level, and the kids were being honored tonight. Here are my three chimpanzees racing toward her school.

100_6906 Jack looking for a squirrel

100_6907 Waiting for the ceremony to start, and badly in need of a ponytail fix!

100_6909 Hollering for his pizza to be served!

We waited and waited throughout the certificate and trophy awards, whilst the pizza got cold and nasty. Jack was so hungry and impatient, I thought he would have a meltdown. He held it together. Whew.

100_6910 Receiving her certificate from Principal Timlin

100_6911 Yay, Chloë! We are so proud of you, honey!

100_6914 All smiles with Gianni (from her class and the bus stop) and Makayla (from her class)

100_6915 Finally, dinner was served! She was so bubbly about her big night, she scarcely ate anything. Fortunately, Sophie was there to make sure it didn't go to waste.

100_6917 Clean me up, Mommy!

100_6920 Looking like the big man on campus, which did a lot to allay my fears about his kindergarten year and small size

100_6921 Doing some kind of tribal rain dance? It worked!

100_6922 Back at home, Chloë took about 87 pictures of me pinning the pattern to the fabric (not easy to do with fake nails, I have discovered. Next time I sew, I think it will be after the cruise when they are removed, if I decide to take them off...). Finally I gave up and had Rob help me do some pinning, else I'd have been there all night!

100_6933 Eventually, it was time to sew. Rob wanted me to practice test-sewing on the scraps of fabric I'd cut away. I did, for about three minutes. Once he was out of view, I got to work. I tend to approach life like that. Just jump in and do it, already! Lots of times it works out, and other times, well, thank goodness there are do-overs.

My goals for this project were two-fold: that the recipient like her new dress, and that she could wear it out in public without people pointing and laughing. I'm not hoping for compliments... just yet!

I learned a lot while working on this dress. For one, I HATE HATE HATE facings! For another, I'm still a raging perfectionist, and am extremely hard on myself when I don't do things absolutely right the first time. Sleeves are extremely fiddly, and I almost gave up and did them by hand after we did them three times (me twice, and Rob once) and had to rip them out each time.  I decided to do it a different way, and it worked. More or less. I really wouldn't want someone to inspect my work up close! I made a lot of mistakes, some by accident and some "on purpose but I don't care let's just keep going and get it done already." I mean, I tried, I really tried, and it was 12:51 AM when I finally finished. And I made Sophia, who didn't nap today, stay up that whole time so I could see it on her when it was done.

Video of her reaction is here.

100_6935 I still have to sew on the button tomorrow morning, but that's nothing. Well? What do you think? I know I met my first goal; tomorrow she'll wear it and we'll see if I made the second!

Ahh. Time for pills and sleep, glorious sleep.