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Saturday 9: Wagon Wheel

Wagon Wheel - Piano Vocal | Hal Leonard

Hey everyone. I'm in a low-key kind of mood today, so I don't have a lot of preliminary verbiage for you. I can say this: it has been a WEEK!!! Full of thingssss. So I'm glad today is a bit more restful, even if again it means I'm the last one to this party.

Today's S9 is going to be about "Wagon Wheel" and its performer, Darius Rucker...  yes, formerly known as Hootie from the Blowfish fame. He was a cutie then, he's a cutie now, and Hootie will always be a cutie. Link up here if you want to play along this week or visit the other entrants.

And away we go:


Saturday 9: Wagon Wheel (2013)

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

1) This week, Darius Rucker sings about hitching a ride to reach his lady love. Have you ever thumbed a ride?
I have not. But I have picked up people who have - twice, I think.
2) Along the way, he loses his money in a poker game. Successful poker players are good at bluffing, or misleading others about about their cards. Are you good at bluffing, whether at cards or in life?
I'm really not. I cry and/or giggle a lot. I'm a terrible liar. I can't look at your face if I know I'm going to lie, and there, there's my tell.
3) Darius began has career as the lead singer of 90s soft-rock band Hootie and the Blowfish. Today he's a country singer. Let's say you're stuck in traffic and only one radio station comes in clearly. Would you prefer it play soft rock or country?
No Country? No Kidding
Then I'll be picking soft rock all day long, please.
4) Darius Rucker will be on tour throughout 2023, playing dates all over the country and making a couple stops in Cancun. Have you ever visited Mexico? If so, where did you go?

Map of Mexico - GIS Geography
Yes, in Y2K, I went to Cancun with my grandfather and other family, and in 2014 I went to a resort near Oaxaca with my husband. So beautiful (where we were).
5) Darius has lent his talents to fundraising for The First Tee, a non-profit that teaches children "life lessons, self-confidence, and resilience through golf." Did you participate in organized sports as a youngster? If yes, what did you play?
Not really.  But I was a dancer, and a good one at that. I was given opportunities, and I took them. All up until I turned 15, when my stepmother informed me that I wasn't worth the cost of the lessons anymore and took me out.

6) A big sports fan, he has six TVs in his home so he can watch several games at once. His largest set is 70". When it comes to TV screens, do you believe bigger is better? Or are you just as comfortable watching from your laptop or phone?
I'd rather watch it on a big screen, too, so there's the chance I don't have to put my glasses on! (The weight of them gives me a headache.)
7) In 2013, when "Wagon Wheel" was popular, fans were flocking to the movie theater to see Catching Fire, the second in the Hunger Games series. Are you a Hunger Games fan?


YES!!! HUGE fan!
8) Also in 2013, the word "selfie" was added to the Oxford Dictionary. Do you take a lot of selfies?
03042023 Selfie
Yeah, probably an embarrassing amount, given my age!

9) Random question: If we paid you $5,000, would you get Saturday 9 tattooed on your right forearm?
Definitely would. That would put in the patio I want for the backyard!
Aww, now I'm yearning for a patio all over again. I hope we figure something out this summer, because I'm longing to get started on our whole vision for our oasis back there. Plus, it'll just be "nice." Heh. Anyway, you guys have a great weekend.

Saturday 9: In And Out Of Love

DIANA ROSS & SUPREMES - in and out of love / i guess i'll always love you -  Amazon.com Music

Hey, party people! What's the haps? It saddens me to say that this will be our last meeting of Summer 2022. It's Bike Fest weekend down at the beach right now; some 100,000+ motorcycles are deafening the wildlife in Ocean City right now, so I'll have to wait until that's over to attempt one last summer beach trip down there. Cross your fingers for me?

One thing I feel like I must address: some of you may have noticed some "off" comments on some of my posts. I'm being cyberstalked, cyberbullied, harrassed, you name it, all of the above. I don't know who the person is, but on many other platforms as well as this one, they are leaving unkind, often lewd messages for me. I unpublish them as soon as I see them, but please don't pay them any mind. I do not know who the person is, and I don't want to give them any more attention than I have to. Thanks!

Moving forward, let's get to today's song, which I just listened to for the first time. Link up here if you're playing along, too!


Saturday 9: In and Out of Love (1967)

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

1) In this song, Diana Ross is disappointed that she hasn't yet found lasting love. Do you think you can fall out of love? Or do you believe that if you fell out of love, it wasn't true love to begin with?
When a broken heart is actually broken - News | UAB
I believe for sure you can fall out of love. If you can fall INTO love, you can fall out. Love is something you have to work out, you have to nourish and tend to. But both parties have to commit to doing so, and if one isn't, then it's possible the love will be neglected and wither away.

2) When is the last time you literally fell, tripped, or stumbled?
Pin on Running
Probably today. I have balance issues, so I fall or nearly fall daily!
3) This record was a hit with American Bandstand viewers. For weeks it was voted the song they most wanted to dance to. Did you watch American Bandstand?
American Bandstand (Series) - TV Tropes
Hmm. My sources tell me it ran until 1989, which would have made me 13, but I can't specifically remember watching it. I was a fan of Dick Clark and know I watched him on Pyramid, listened to his various countdowns on the radio and watched the annual New Year's Eve one, but I can't remember watching Bandstand.
4) This is one of the last Supremes songs that featured the most successful hit-making line-up: Diana Ross, Mary Wilson, and Florence Ballard. Florence's great-nephew, Christian Ballard, was a football star at University of Iowa and briefly played pro ball for the Vikings. The 2022-23 NFL season just kicked off. What team do you root for?
Patrick Mahomes Kansas City Chiefs | National Football League, News, Scores, Highlights,  Injuries, Stats, Standings, and Rumors | Bleacher Report This Patrick Mahomes stat should be the main offseason concern for the  Chiefs
I don't really have a horse in the race when it comes to pro foot ball. Everyone knows my team is NCAA level. Soo, I root for the team Hubs roots for: Patrick Mahomes. I mean Kansas City Chiefs. But they're doing pretty well together, so it's fair to say.
5) Mary had a connection to sports, too. She donated her time and talent to raising money for Figure Skaters of Harlem, an organization that helps young people train for the Winter Olympics. Tell us about a charity you support.
One that is near and dear to my heart is the Center for Biological Diversity. Biodiversity on Earth is a critical measurement of how healthy life on Earth, in general, is. So it's critical to support rehabbing those species whose numbers are dwindling and on their way out, as well as those whose numbers are approaching that line. Remember, humans are animals too (yes, we are), and what affects them also affects us.
6) There's a children's playground in New York's Central Park named for the last surviving member of this trio, Diana Ross. It has swings, slides, a rope bridge, and a fountain that kids are welcome to splash in. If you were suddenly little again, which would you play on first?
No description available.
That's Chloë a week ago on our birthdays (hers is on the 7th, mine is on the 8th) in Love Park, in Philadelphia - in the fountain park area. I'm just like her; I'd go for the splash park first, 10 times out of 10, if I was a kid. Hell, if I wasn't in a wheelchair, I still would!
7) Diana owns an estate in Greenwich, CT, with lush gardens, a tennis court, and a pool. While the grounds are spectacular, she maintains the house itself is "nothing special" because the kitchen hasn't been renovated in more than three decades. Could your kitchen benefit from a makeover? Or are you fine with it as it is?
Edible House Crickets - BBQ Flavour - Tasty healthy snack
Heh. crickets. Our kitchen is smallish, and generally untidy. I don't think I've taken a single picture of it since the day we moved in. And since we're STILL unpacking and moving in, kinda, a  lot of the boxes and packing materials end up around it, making things look generally awful. Makeover? I don't know about that. I'm eager to do something to it, once I can see it, maybe.
8) In 1967, when this song was popular, the best-selling camera was The Polaroid Swinger. When did you most recently take a photo? What was it of?
No description available.
On Thursday, I took my son hamster shopping, and there was this one little dude just hunkered in his little habitat, looking chill but also looking at us like, "You wanna piece o' me? Eh? You wanna piece o' me?" So I took a picture because I did not, in fact, want a piece of him.
9) Random question: Come clean! Are there dirty dishes in your sink right now?
Absolutely. But Rob is actually doing them right now.
Welp, that's the week that was. And now the water closet is calling my name. See y'all!

Saturday 9: Flipper

Flipper" TV show Dolphin , Seaquarium , MIAMI , Florida , 1960s ...

Hey hey, whaddaya say? Anyone else hearing the squeaky flipper noises already? Am I the only who tried to emulate that as a much younger person? (Also maybe older, no telling.)

Link up here if you'd like to play along with us this weekend! I had to take a break and skip last weekend; more health-related BS that no one wants to hear.

So let's get on with it, shall we?


Saturday 9: Flipper (1964)
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) Flipper ran for three seasons, from 1964 to 1967. Are you familiar with the show? Were you a fan?

Flipper GIF | Gfycat

My sister and I used to watch it as kids, but I guess it must have been in re-runs, then. I don't remember that being the case, but it must have since I wasn't born until nearly a decade after it ended.

2) Brothers Sandy and Bud consider a bottle-nosed dolphin, named Flipper, their pet. Do you currently share your home with any animals?

Yup! Here are two of our four cats, Pepper and Sugarplum. 

Here's one of our two dogs, Paco, who turned 6 years old on the 11th! ♥

Periwinkle and Benji by Rob

And...  here's one of our two bunnies, Benji, with another of the cats, Periwinkle. Quite a zoo we've got going on here!

3) Bud and Sandy's dad was Chief Warden Porter Ricks of the fictional Coral Key Marine Preserve. In reality, the show was filmed in Miami and Key Biscayne. When were you last in the ocean? Which ocean was it?


Last time we were in the ocean was in February 2017, in Key Largo (Atlantic Ocean side), before we moved away from Miami to come here to Idaho. Gawd, I miss my seas!

4) There was no one single "Flipper." In close-ups, the role was played by a dolphin named Susie. While Susie was good at interacting with people, she had trouble with stunts, and sometimes a male dolphin named Clown was brought in for action sequences. Do you consider yourself more social, like Susie? Or are you more athletic, like Clown?

Episode 5 Fox GIF by Paradise Hotel - Find & Share on GIPHY

Welp, I'm not a whole lot of either, but I'm definitely not athletic, so I guess I'd have to be more like Susie!

5) Without looking it up, do you know the difference between a dolphin and a porpoise?

Narwhal GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Well, I have a degree in marine biology, but I didn't spend a whole lot of time on the marine mammals, so... I'd have to go by memory. I know there is a general size/body proportion difference (I think the dolphins are bigger?), which corresponds to difference in behaviors as well. But what about the  narwhal, y'all? Do you know what that is? ;)

6) Flipper wasn't just a TV pet. He was an industry! During the show's run, Flipper comic books, coloring books and puzzles were very popular. As an adult, do you entertain yourself by reading comics, coloring, or completing jigsaw puzzles?

Well, I haven't been doing a lot of any of that recently. I did by the above jigsaw puzzle at the beginning of this pandemic, around early February, but I have yet to crack open the box.

7) The Flipper lunchbox was also a big seller. It came with a Thermos topped with a red cup. Do you own a Thermos?


No, not per se. Hubs uses a lot of Nalgene bottles and Coleman "thermoses," but I don't believe we have any actual Thermos products. I could be wrong on that, though. As for me, I'm doing all my hydration via several of these Cirkul bottles nowadays. (Have you tried these? I love Cirkul!!!)
8) In 1964, when Flipper premiered, it was up against The Outer Limits and The Jackie Gleason Show. If those were your only viewing choices, would you watch the family show about the dolphin, the sci-fi anthology show, or the comedy-variety show? (Or would you rather flip through a magazine?)

Flipper GIF | Gfycat

I might "flip" (I see what you did there, Crazy Sam!) through a magazine while I watched Flipper. I did love the movie The Toy, but I wasn't a huge fan of Jackie Gleason and have never really been into sci-fi.

9) Random question  -- Which would you be more comfortable explaining: how a car engine works, the current IRS tax brackets, or the rules of baseball?

Finding fun ways to simplify complicated chemistry concepts

Oh, yeesh. D: None of the above, I think I'm gonna have to say! Couldn't I explain something like Calculus, Chemistry (as in Avogadro's Number, described in the song above), or the Carrying Capacity of a given ecosystem? That's more my comfort zone. Now I'm going to have to go learn some things so I don't feel like such an idiot. Hee!


I hope youse guys have a lovely weekend. It's heading up toward about 98ºF here today, and it's been at, near, or above 100ºF for days now, so I'm staying indoors. Hopefully I'll manage not to pass out at Sophie's equestrian show tomorrow!



Saturday 9: Could've Been

My six best albums with Tiffany Darwish | Music | Entertainment ...

Heyyy, everyone! Welcome back. This song was one of my favorites when it came out; I was a YUGE Tiffany fan back in the day. So obviously, I'm wicked excited for this one!

Link up here if you're playing along with us this weekend.

And now, I bring you:


Saturday 9: Could've Been (1987)

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

1) This wistful song is about a love affair that ended. What song reminds you of a long-ago love?
When I See You Smile / Rockin' Horse by Bad English (Single, AOR ...
I used to sing this song, "When I See You Smile" by Bad English, on the phone often at the end of my conversations with my high school boyfriend, Ben. Always brings me back!

2) It was written by Lois Blaisch, a singer-songwriter who performs at clubs around Los Angeles and has sung outdoors at Disneyland. Would you prefer to attend a concert indoors, or outside under the stars?
Summer Concert Series in Panama City Beach | View Schedule & Info
I'd rather be outdoors. When Chloë was an infant (she's 18 now), we lived in Panama City, Florida, and regularly attended outdoor concerts and things. I know she was far too young to remember, but we've always tried to expose our kids to different cultural things as much as possible. And early.

3) This week's featured artist, Tiffany, appeared on the TV talent show Star Search when she was just 14. She came in second. Though she was disappointed, she admits she learned from it. She studied the singer who won and says it made her a better performer. Can you recall a time when you weathered a tough time and came through stronger?
Oh yes, lots of times - my whole life! Recently, we celebrated our twin boys' 17th birthday. Losing Robby was one of those times for me. I was definitely broken - but stronger for it now.

4) Early in her career, she toured Alaska, opening for country legend George Jones. Have you ever visited our 50th state?
Readers' photos worth a thousand words | Anchorage alaska, North ...
Not yet. I was going to take Rob and the kids on an Alaskan cruise later this year, but of course we canceled that now.

5) Tiffany provided the voice of Judy Jetson in 1990's Jetsons: The Movie. Which cartoon did you enjoy more: the space-age Jetsons or the pre-historic Flintstones?

The Flintstones' Is Actually A Post-Apocalyptic Future And Here's Why

I didn't know that! Oh, man... I liked both shows. Maybe The Jetsons had just a slight edge, because I've always wanted to be out in space.

6) In 2007, she appeared on VH1's Celebrity Fit Club and lost 28 lbs. Are you making an effort to stay fit during this stay-at-home period?

Funny Fitness Quote | Quote Number 678814 | Picture Quotes

No. Not at all. I can barely walk around so... I'm gaining weight and hating every ounce.

7) In 1987, when this song was popular, Aretha Franklin became the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. What's your favorite Aretha song?

15 Best Aretha Franklin Quotes To Inspire Your Inner Diva | YourTango

hate being cliché, but it really is "RESPECT."

8) Also in 1987, third-generation race car driver Marco Andretti was born. Are you a race fan?


No, not at all. I don't understand why anybody cares about this.

9) Random question: Do you find it easy to sit still, or are you fidgety?

Do you think you're sitting still right now? | Space facts

Oh, I fidget constantly. I'm pretty good at it, so why stop now?


I do hope you're all safe and sound and remaining covid-free! Thinking of you all in this mixed-up, crazy world we're in!


Sunday Stealing: Colloquium

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

I dare you to prove me wrong?!

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


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

Last person you were in a car with?

Image may contain: 1 person

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

Any plans for tomorrow?

Image result for out of gas

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

Best friend or close friends?

Image result for bff funny

Um, both. Duh.

Is tomorrow going to be a good day?

Image result for clairvoyance funny

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

Ever thrown up in public?

Image result for puking funny

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

What’s on your mind RIGHT NOW?

Image result for climate strike

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

Who was the last person you talked to?


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

What is the WORST subject they teach at school?

Image result for creationism curriculum

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

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

Image result for shaking head no gif

Not lately, I don't think?

What is your favourite color top to wear?

Pass, on the grounds that it's irrelevant.

Have you ever been in a car accident?

Image result for hit by a drunk driver

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

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

Image result for green recycling symbol

My recycling bin 😉♻️

Where would you like to be right now?

Image result for migraine

Anywhere right now not having this migraine

Is anything bugging you right now?

Image result for migraine

Second verse, same as the first!

Is life going right for you now?

Image result for everything is alright

It's... going.

Is there someone you care about more than yourself?

Image may contain: one or more people and night

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

What made you laugh today?

Facebook Graphic #7
⬆ This. ⬆

What was the last movie you watched?

Related image

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

What was the last conversation you had about?

Image result for acetaminophen

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

What were you doing at 7:00 this morning?

Image result for ACLU logo Idaho

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

Do you like your hair long or short?


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

Do you like the rain?

Image result for hurricane gif

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



Sunday Stealing: Friday Five Meme

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

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


Questions from taken from Friday Five

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

Related image

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

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

Image result for north carolina vacation funny

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

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

Related image

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

What is your favorite place in your home?

Image result for big house funny

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

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

Image result for being able to fly

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

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

Image result for driving with OCD gif

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

What is special about the town you live in?

I posted this on Facebook about it today, actuallly:

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

Image result for Nascar funny

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

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


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

How do you beat the summer heat?

Image result for swimming funny

Swimming is my favorite!

Did you enjoy your Senior Year in high school?

Image result for high school graduation funny

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

Who is your favorite First Lady of all time?

Image result for Awesome Michelle Obama gif

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

Post a link to your first blog post.

112007 TBT Collage

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

When was the last time you needed First Aid?

Related image

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

Can you explain what a first down is in football?

Related image

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


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

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



Sunday Stealing: Curiosity And The Queen

Welcome back! I saw a few of you guys left comments, but I haven't had a chance to read most of them yet because of being suuuuuper tired. I was already dealing with exhaustion, and then I had to go the ER for pain relief last night. We got home as the sun was coming up! Needless to say, I'm hitting the sack early(er) tonight!

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


Questions from Durward Discussion

Thanks to Kwizgiver for the suggestion.

1. What is the nearest book to you?  Your Kindle does not count.
Kelloggs Books IGd
These are the latest ten books we received for free from Kellogg's "Feeding Reading" program this month. I have the book Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven next to me, atop the printer. I've already ordered Book #11 and can't wait to get all 20!

2. When was the last time you took a "me" vacation?
Image result for napping funny gif
Does naptime count? If so, then I just woke up an hour or two ago...

3. How many telephone numbers do you have?
Me, personally? I just have one. But with five people in the house, each with a separate cell phone number, and then individual phone numbers for each of the kids' tablets... we have eight.

4. If you could fix one thing in the public school system, what is the one thing you would do immediately?
An Infographic About Teachers Infographic
There are so many big things that need fixing with our educational system, but I think the number one thing is money. I would pour it in, to raise the annual teacher salaries and to buy excellent curriculum. There is no reason in the world why the U.S. shouldn't have the best educational system one could find.
5. Are you a big tipper?
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I tip appropriately.

6. Do you watch reality shows?
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Nowhere near as much as I used to be, but I did watch the entire latest season of The Voice, and I picked Maelyn Jarmon (shown with the legendary Sara McLachlan) out as the one who had to win during her first appearance, in the Blinds. If you don't watch, treat yourself to a screening of her singing Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" in the finale, or Fields of Gold in her blind audition. I could watch and listen all day long. And, she's deaf!

7. Who is your favorite sports team player?
Image result for who's the guy who took a knee in the NFL?
Maybe Steph Curry or, here, Colin Kaepernick, who wasn't afraid to take a stand (sorry) on a desperately important issue when he took a knee. #BlackLivesMatter

8. If you could travel in a spaceship to any planet, which planet would you like to visit and why?
Related image
After I quick detour to Jupiter to reassure him that he's still my favorite, I'd head to Pluto. Gotta show the little guy some big love.

9. When was the last time you sat in a church?
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Probably Easter, if not the candlelight service on Christmas Eve. Can't miss that! I hate that we've turned into "holiday Christians," but if we can't find an LGBTQIA-accepting church here in Mountain Home, then that's the way it's going to have to be right now. Hurts.
10. Are there any aspects of blogging that annoy you?
Image result for funny blogging
Two things, mostly: one, when I write up something really meaningful to me, and there are crickets. Two, my own ability to make/find/have time to comment back on an your lovely pages with any kind of frequency.

11. When someone follows you on their blog or subscribes to your Facebook page, do you automatically follow and subscribe back?
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Hee. This actually applies to me more on Instagram and Twitter. I try to be descriminate and not follow back anyone whose stuff I really don't want to see, but most of the time that doesn't happen, and I do. One thing that drives me away: the inane "ItWorks" products and their proponents. Just a waste of time, space, and energy for me!
All right. And now back to working on our August 2019 budget. Whoopty-do!! (Thanks, Bev & Kwizzy!)

Saturday 9: Young And Beautiful

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

Image result for lana del rey great gatsby

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Melanie 2

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

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

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

Karen Joyce Collage

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

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

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

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

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

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

Boys' 16th Birthday Collage

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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Saturday 9: A Few Of My Favorite Things

Hey, everyone! Right now we're in a big freakin' family argument because my oldest, Chloë, wants to treat everyone to something for dinner... However, I have super-strong, scientifically-backed, non-emotional convictions about eating vegan and will not sway, plus I have had gastric bypass surgery resulting in a teeny-tiny gastric pouch, so the Golden Corral buffet she wants to go to does not make any sense for me. And I don't feel well. So I don't want to go. Some people want Chinese food, some people want pizza - all of which have vegan choices - but nobody agrees. AND I had already bought the ingredients for what I had planned for dinner.

So this is fun.


Anyway, since nothing is really happening on the dinner end of things, I thought I'd get with the program and get my S9 conquered. So let's do this!


Saturday 9: My Favorite Things (2018)
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) This week's artist, Jennie Abrahamson, is very happy living in Stockholm, but she refers to Paris as "a flirt." She enjoys her time there so much she always wants to return. Is there a place you've visited that tugs at your heart and imagination, tempting you to return?

Oh, yes. I loved every single stop on our 12-day European cruise in 2008, but I think city of Lucca in Italy was exceedingly delightful. I'd go back to any of those ports in a heartbeat, but to meander through Lucca again - even 13 years later with my health - would make me jump for joy!

2) Jennie has said her music has been heavily influenced by 80s pop, which was popular in her early teen years. Are your favorite songs the ones you listened to when you were growing up?

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Oh, nah. I mean, I love my 80s songs for sure, but I love listening to current pop music a ton, too. But I mean, I was listening to Vivaldi and Tchaikovsky and Mozart earlier this afternoon. I think right now I'm most obsessed with the Sweetener and Thank U, Next latest albums from Ariana Grande, especially her song "God is a Woman."

3) "My Favorite Things" is from The Sound of Music. Crazy Sam's high school claim to fame was playing Sister Margaretta in the senior class production. Though not a big part, her performance lives on because relatives love embarrassing her with pictures of her in an especially unflattering nun's habit. Who took an embarrassing photo of you? What were you doing?

Well, damn. There are (approximately) a million embarrassing photos of me, many online. Pick any given one!

4) The lyrics celebrate "brown paper packages tied up in strings." What was in the last box you received in the mail?

January BarkBox

The last package "I" got was really for our puppies, Paco and Tapi. They LOOOOOOOVE getting their monthly BarkBox in the mail, and I swear to God they know what it is when the box hits the porch! (They actually might know the timing, because they start crowding around the door whenever ANY box hits the porch for a day or two before it's supposed to come!) Tapi's been bumped up to the "Super Chewer" level as of this month, because her strong jaws destroy her favorite toys within moments at the regular level. Paco only cares about the treats, so that doesn't matter to him!

5) It mentions doorbells and sleighbells. What's the most recent bell or alarm that you heard?

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[It's now 2:14 PM on Saturday afternoon. I'm just now getting out of bed, because I've got a migraine. Again. Still. Whichever.] Various peoples' work, activity, and medication alarms all day - none of which have helped my head!

6) This song has nice things to say about cold weather, specifically snowflakes and mittens. What do you like about winter?

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When it's over.

7) Dog bites and bee stings are singled out as things that can leave us feeling sad. What's most recently given you the blues?

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I was able to drive out to, and attend, Sophia's lesson for the first time in over a year... and it was not a great lesson for her. Sunny, the Appaloosa she's on there, did not want to cooperate. And Sunny stepped on her at today's lesson, so... :\ Poor kid. She cried, I heard, and it broke the skin.

8) In 2018, when this song was released, Roger Federer won the Australian Open. Are you good with a racket?

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I wasn't bad in high school, despite not having the best depth perception. I haven't really played since then, though.

9) Random question -- Your local zoo announced the hatching of three snowy owlets. All males. You won the honor of naming them. Go ahead.

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Blue, Delta, and Echo... and if you have any guesses as to where I got those ideas, I'd love to hear them! ;)


Sophia - Van Gogh Unit Starry Night

Before I send this post into the ether, as I'm listening to Chopin's "Noctune op.9 No. 1," I'll leave you with Sophia's latest art project: her take on Vincent van Gogh's "Starry Night," done with oil pastels.

See you for Sunday Stealing!


Sunday Stealing: Questions From The Swap-Bot

Hey, hey, whaddaya say? I'm glad to be back with you guys for another Sunday Stealing. This time, Bev brings us questions from the Swap-Bot:

Link up here if you want to join in the fun this week. Let's get started, hmm?


1.Where were you 3 hours ago?

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You can pretty much find me on the couch lately, whenever I don't need to be somewhere outside the house. With my severe iron deficiency, it's even hard for me to peel myself off the sofa without help, so here I sit. Hope fully when I get those iron infusions in a few weeks, my energy levels will bounce up a bit. I can NOT wait!

2.Have you ever eaten a crayon?

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Not to my knowledge, but hey - we were all babies once, right?

3.Is there anything pink within 10 feet of you?

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This Victoria's Secret striped blanket is just to my left. When I'm cold and/or snoozing on the couch, it's the blanket I use. With my weird sensory issues, it has the perfect texture for me.

4.When is the last time you went to the mall?

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Chloë and I went to the mall this past Tuesday to do some mystery shops I found the strength to perform (paid for it later!), and I was so mad at myself when I realized after we got there that I had forgotten my free product & discount coupons for Bath & Body Works. Grr! I hate the mall so much, so I rarely go. Those coupons will probably expire before I get a chance to use them.

5.Are you wearing socks right now?

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No, but now I want those ^^^ cuties! I rarely wear socks. Actually, hospital socks have the perfect texture for my tactile issues, so I guess it's fortunate (or not, depending on your perspective) that I've built up quite the collection of them!

6.When was the last time you drove out of town?

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Well, technically, we drove out of town to High Desert Station in Star, Idaho, when we ferried Sophia, our 13-year-old equestrian, back and forth to Pony Club camp last month. But in about 10 days, Team Odette is heading to the Bateman Horne Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, so I can get evaluated and possibly treated for ME/CFS. I'm about 1,000% certain that will be my ultimate diagnosis, with multiple triggers leading up to that. And then, a couple weeks after that, Sophie and I will be traveling to Bellevue, Idaho, to the Intermountain Pony Club Camp & Rally, where she'll be a stable manager for another club's team. (Our club isn't participating, but this will be an excellent experience for her.) Both trips will be our first forays into the Airbnb world. Any tips for us from you Airbnb veterans out there? (both links are to our respective upcoming stays)

7.Have you been to the movies in the last 5 days?

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I think it's been more than five days, but we recently went to see The Incredibles 2 as a family - minus Jack, who had to work that day. After a 14-year wait for the sequel, I had pretty high expectations. Don't get me wrong, it was an entertaining movie and my girls enjoyed it, but... I felt let down by it. Meh. At least it was a free excursion, thanks to the kids' orthodontist, Dr. Jacob Jarvis!

8.What was the last thing you had to drink?

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Dudes. I need a Diet Coke Bong in my life.

9.What are you wearing right now?

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I'm slumming it today. I'm completely mismatched.

10.Do you wash your car or let the car wash do it?

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Lately, I've taken a few car wash mystery shops for a local joint, and they do a great job. Next time we have the dough, I want to purchase their $50/month plan where you can get unlimited washes, every day, every week. Idaho is such a dusty, dirty state with little rain, so the car is constantly dirty. I hate a dirty car.

11.Last food that you ate?

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I just ate about a third of a pouch of Russell Stover Sugar-Free chocolates. They are not good. Really. Not. Good.

12.Where were you last week at this time?

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Well, it's after midnight now, so probably the same thing I'm doing now: kind of a Netflix and chill type of deal.

13.Have you bought any clothing items in the last week?

The last clothing I bought was equestrian gear from Dover Saddlery, for Sophia. I got everything on clearance: a white and a midnight blue summer riding shirt, two pairs of riding socks with cute patterns on them, a pair of summer breeches, and for free, she received a Dover saddle pad. Her own tack - her first! Plus I had to throw in the Breyer Turn-Out Set (the toy horse) at her request, but only so I could get to the free shipping tier. Problem is, I forgot to update our shipping address to our Boise home, and everything went to Miami. I had to pay a small bundle to re-route the package to Idaho. Argh!

14.When is the last time you ran?

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Who, me? Oh, no. I don't run. I can't run.

15.What's the last sporting event you watched?

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I caught some FIFA game, but it was completely by accident. I have no horse in that race.


And now, I have a request for you.

Sophia's art

I have started a GoFundMe page (that's the link) for my Sophia's art education. She hasn't had a lot of formal training, but she is very talented. I've purchased a program where she learns from the great Master artists, but the materials are not included. And there are SO many. I also have an Amazon Wishlist (link there) set up for the same supplies. If you would be so kind, would you mind at least sharing the link(s) to help us raise the funds so Sophie can advance her education? We would be so grateful for a few shares.

Thank you, and I'm glad you stopped by!


Saturday 9: The Love Club

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Hey, y'all, welcome back! I'm glad you could join me. If you'd like to play along today, don't forget to link up with the rest of the Sat 9ers here. So, let's go!


The Love Club (2013)
Unfamiliar with this week's song. Hear it here.

1) Lorde has said this song is about a time when she fell into "a bad crowd." Her high-maintenance new friends were all about their romantic dramas and it overwhelmed her. Have you ever had a friend who was just too much work?

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I have had a couple actually, but generally, I think that friend is me. I am a high-maintenance person, I admit.

2) She sings that she longs to be alone. Where do you go when you want peace and quiet?

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If I weren't landlocked now in Boise, Idaho, I would say, "to the beach!" One time, way back when I was still in college in Coral Gables, Florida, I decided that I needed a bit of soul time convening with my first love, the ocean. I drove out to Bill Bass State Park at the end of Key Biscayne early on a Sunday morning, and I sat on the beach and stared out at the water. I was having a bit of trouble with this and that, and so after a while, I decided to pray. I prayed about all of the struggles in my life at the time, and I prayed for guidance.  After I finished, I looked back up at the water, and at that moment, for the first time, I saw a manta ray breach. It was one of the most beautiful, most glorious things I had ever seen in my entire life. So now that I can no longer just wake up and go straight to the ocean, I will say, "to nature." I always have to be alone and outside to be one with Mother Nature.

3) Lorde credits her mother for encouraging her verbal skills. "Mum" let her join a theater class when she was just 5 and was always giving her books. Tell us about an encouraging, understanding adult who assisted you when you were growing up.

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That would be my Middle, Junior High, and High School (not straight through) Spanish teacher, then known as Señora O'Toole. A lot of times, I didn't talk to her directly, but through my written work in Spanish. I didn't know it until much, much later - when I didn't even remember writing that stuff - when all of Team Odette went up to the Syracuse area in 2014 for my 20th high school reunion. My family and I had breakfast with Doctora O'Toole (as she's now known, on the faculty of SUNY Oswego) one morning, at her house. She told me about how those journal entries in Spanish used to break her heart. We talked sometimes, when I was still in school, about what was going on, but I never shared too much for fear of over-sharing. (Another Spanish teacher, Sra. Nevid, had seen bruises all over my arms once, CPS was called, it was a huge deal of course, and I got in big trouble at home for it.) However, it was good to know that Sra. O'Toole, and others, cared. ♥

4) Lorde is not the only celebrity from her class at Belmont School in Auckland, New Zealand. Olympian Eliza McCartney was a classmate who went on to win a bronze medal in Rio for the pole vault. Did you participate in any sports in high school?

I really didn't. I'm not terribly athletic, unlike my equestrian daughter, Sophia. (Speaking of the Olympics, Sophie has such aspirations. She'll be 13 in April; we tell her about 54-year-old Beezie Madden and remind Sophie that she has plenty of time..!) I danced for several years and was quite good at that, though.

6) Lorde wrote music for one of the Hunger Games soundtracks. Have you seen any of the Hunger Games movies, or read any of the books?

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I tried to read the books, but never got very far into the first one. We have, however, seen all four movies. SO GOOD!! I love this series!

7) Her favorite candy is Peanut M&Ms. Do you prefer Milk Chocolate, Peanut, Almond, Mint or Crispy M&Ms?

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None of the above! It's got to be Peanut Butter. Have you not tried them?! Oh, but you must.

8) When Lorde was on stage at Lollapalooza, a sudden storm interrupted her set. The music festival was evacuated and her performance was cancelled. Can you think of a time when the weather had a major impact on your plans?

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I lived in South Florida from 1994-2001, and then moved back to Miami from 2013-2017, so I can think of many times! The first time, I was a freshman/sophomore (I technically came in as a sophomore, but never mind that) at UM when Tropical Storm Gordon hit. That was in the 1994 hurricane season, my first experience with one. Classes were canceled for days! I had to wade through thigh-high water to go anywhere, for about a week after the wind and rains stopped. I ruined so many pairs of shoes from the humidity, too.  When we moved back in 2013, I warned my kids about that over and over! I don't think we lost one shoe to mold from being caught in the rains. #ILearnedSomethingInCollege ;)

9) Random question: Please complete this sentence -- Before I leave the house, I always __________________________.

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... fill up my cups. I usually bring two: one with water, and one with the Fred Meyer version of Diet Coke (which isn't half bad and a helluva lot cheaper). I get really dehydrated super-fast, so I always bring both if I'm going to be gone any length of time. It's really annoying. I normally drink 8-10 L of H2O/diet soda/whatever per day, and I have been hospitalized with hyponatremia three times that I can think of. My sodium goes so low, it really messes with my neurological system, among other things, and my potassium, chloride, and other electrolytes get messed up, too. The last time I was admitted for it, in January, they limited me to an intake of 1.5 L per day. Oh, my God, I struggled!! I have really tried to cut back since then.


Welp, y'all, I appreciate the visit! I hope your weekend is amazing! I have a busy one full of taking care of 3 sick teenagers. Yay, me. Hopefully, yours will be more exciting!


Sunday Stealing: Brrrr!

Welcome back to my neck of the woods! Link up here if you want to play along today. BTW, I want to thank all of you for the thoughts and prayers for my husband - it's definitely appreciated! ♥

Let's get rolling...!


In honor of the Olympics starting, here are some winter-related questions stolen from Bogglesworld

1. Do you prefer winter or summer? Why?

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I love them both, and will watch plenty over this next fortnight, but I prefer the Summer Olympics. Now that I have one daughter involved in Showjumping, and the other daughter in Fencing, it's fun to watch and see what they aspire to be like one day. And, my first love is gymnastics.

2. What are your favorite winter activities?


Really, I love anything that gets us out and exploring a new part of our home city or surrounding area that we haven't seen before.

3. Can you tell me about a time you went skiing or skating?

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I haven't been skating in a long time, but I'm not bad at it.  As far as (downhill) skiing, I've never gone except for once, when my pro-ski sister took me to a tall hill and put me in her boots and skis, and sent me down a hill. I landed not far away, like this, and that was the end of that!

4. Have you ever made a snow angel?

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Oh, yes! I still love making them!

5. Is your house cold?

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I'm no judge; I'm always cold. It'll be 80ºF in here, and I'll still be shivering. Thankful for my heating pad right now!

6. Do you have a fireplace in your house?

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Not this house, but we had on in Va Beach. I'm hoping when we eventually buy our next house, it'll be more spacious and have a fireplace.

7. What do you usually do to keep warm in the winter?

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Stay under a thousand blankets when I have nowhere to go! This winter has been mild for us temperature-speaking, but as for me, illness has kept me out of commission for doing anything more fun than that!

8. Have you ever gone hiking in the snow?

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Not since  high school. I'm not cut out for snow, I'm afraid.

9. Tell me about a snowball fight you had.

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Again, not since high school. We used to have a ton of snow in Syracuse, so making snow forts and snowballs was a piece of cake. I don't remember any specific one, but there were lots!

10. Have you ever looked at a snowflake carefully?

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Oh, yeah. I love looking at individual snowflakes. They're so beautiful.

11. Do you have a sled? Have you been sledding?

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I haven't been sledding in years, but this was my favorite: when my father would pull the sled behind his truck and zoom around the neighborhood! I bought all three kids a sled for this winter, but we haven't had enough snow to use them yet! Bummer.

12. What do you usually do after a big snowfall?


You mean like this? Not much! We haven't gotten a lot of snow in years - and I'm not unhappy about that!

13. What’s the best thing about winter?

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Wearing cute layers!

14. What’s the worst thing about winter?

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Being cold. I abhor being cold! (And I'm always cold.)

15. Have you ever been in a blizzard?

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I'll never forget being in the Syracuse Blizzard of '93. That solidified my decision to go as far away as I could for college: Miami!

16. Can you describe ice for me?

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Often beautiful to look at, but cold and dangerously slippery - especially when wet

17. Have you ever slipped on ice and hurt yourself?

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Every winter for ten years in Syracuse. Yep.

18.Have you ever had to shovel snow?

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Every winter for ten years in Syracuse. Yep.

19. Will you be watching the Olympics?

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I am right now!

20. If yes, what are your favorite events?

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I love most of them, except hockey. I don't watch that.


Welp, that's it! Thanks for stopping by, you guys!


Saturday 9: Boat Drink

Hey, guys! It's 7:30 PM here, which means it's still Saturday, and I'm not late. For once. Link up here if you're playing along today!


Saturday 9: Boat Drinks (1979)

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

1) Jimmy Buffett is singing about his bandmates watching hockey in a sports bar. Since it's Super Bowl weekend, our first question is: In cold weather, which sport to you watch most: football, hockey, or basketball?
Image result for University of Miami football
I watch my Hurricanes play football, when I can find it way out West here. Tonight on our mystery shop dinner date, I watched the Boise State Broncos play UNLV. They were winning, last I saw. I want to watch the Super Bowl tomorrow, but I'll probably forget.

2) Jimmy sings it's just 20º outside. How high will the mercury reach where you are today?
60ºF on February 3rd! Yet Climate Change isn't real. Right.
3) "Boat drinks" are mixed drinks designed to enhance the enjoyment of a boat ride or time on the beach. Popular boat drinks include The Tequila Sunrise, Cuba Libre, and Mimosa. When did you last sip an alcoholic beverage? Was it a boat drink?
I had to go back really far in my Instagram account to December 1st, before I got sick with a severe case of pneumonia for two months (and counting), to discover that it was, again, at Texas Roadhouse: A sangria. I do remember that I initially ordered a Rum Runner, and the young bartender asked, "Rum Runner? What's that? What's in that?" #Dumbass.
Oh wait, I think I had a sip or two of some champagne for our 17th anniversary on January 2nd. No pictures as evidence, apparently!

4) Jimmy met his wife, Jane, in Key West at a bar called The Chart Room. Have you ever been to Key West?
Girl, you know I've been to Key West a billion times (give or take)! I first went when I was an undergrad at the University of Miami, circa 1996. I last went in October of 2016 with my family. I took a bunch of photographs, but this portrait of Sophia in the sunset at Southernmost Point was my favorite from that trip.

5) Have you ever met anyone worth knowing at a bar?
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So this was Palm Beach, Florida, not Las Vegas, Nevada, but... let's just say Hubs and I met a very interested bartender at a resort one night. We had a good time with him. #NuffSaid

6) While Keith Richard and Paul McCartney have made cameo appearances in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, Jimmy Buffet has not. Producers have asked him, but he's always had to decline because of his touring schedule. Have you seen any of the Pirates/Jack Sparrow movies?
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I have not. It's been on, in my presence, but I didn't watch. Not my genre.

7) When Jimmy gave the commencement address at the University of Miami, he showed up in flip-flops. How many pairs of flip-flops do you own?
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He did?! That's so cool. Wish I'd seen that! I own about at least half a dozen pairs of flip-flops, which now sit unused half the year. I wore my Crocs flippers year-round in Miami, though. Today, I had to wear tall black pleather boots for our date night. I couldn't zip up the sides when I first got them, because I have enormous calves anyway and had put on some way. After four hospital admissions between December and January, though, they now fit loosely.

8) Jimmy has his own station on Sirius Radio. Do you subscribe to Sirius?
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We actually don't. I prefer to listen to regular FM radio. We had one car with it, until the free trial expired. I didn't renew.

9) Random question: What trend or fad from your youth do you hope never makes a comeback?
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The high hair with a full can of hairspray in it was pretty gross. I didn't go this extreme, but I got a little there. Ugh, what a pain!
That was fun, thanks Crazy Sam! Stay tuned for more from me: Sunday Stealing is coming up next!

Saturday 9: Piano

Welcome back, guys!

[For those keeping score: I'm still here, not in the hospital, which is a fantastic thing. I did expect to get the PICC line out of my arm this past Wednesday, but my infection numbers just haven't come down enough, so I'm still receiving IV antibiotics through the PICC twice a day. But I'm home with my family, on the upright side of the dirt, and I prefer to focus on that!]

Now, then. Thanks, Crazy Sam for another entertaining questionnaire for us to play with this week. If you want to join us, link up here!

Let's get to it:


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

1) As she sings, Ariana muses about the songs she could compose on her piano. Do you play the piano?
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Yes and no. My mother played an electric organ much like this one in the 70s and 80s, right up until she died in 1984. Afterward, when it was time for me to learn an instrument, I chose to take lessons on Mom's unused organ. I did okay at it, but just okay, since I sucked at sightreading music. I still do.

2) She compares love songs, saying there are sad ones about how hard love is, and happy ones that make you want to dance. What's your favorite love song? Is it sad or happy?
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I think that honor would have to go to "If I Had a Million Dollars" by the Barenaked Ladies. It's such a fun, funny, silly, and yet romantic song! It perfectly encapsulated Rob's and my whirlwind 2-month courtship in 2000, before we eloped, and Rob gave me that album for that Christmas. It's the best ever.

3) Ariana's mother always told her that they took her name from Princess Oriana in the 1988 movie Felix the Cat. Who is your favorite cartoon character?
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Definitely Dory from Finding Nemo (and Finding Dory, but that movie was a let-down for me). She embodies me completely! I am so Dory. So Dory.

4) Ariana's favorite board game is Monopoly. What's your favorite board game?
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Monopoly here, too! Though with Hubs, it would be Scrabble.

5) She relaxes by baking. When you feel keyed up, what do you do to relax?
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Generally, I like to knit. I haven't done a ton of it in the past few years, because of Fibro pain and whatever. But I told Sophia (my 12yo youngest) that I will knit her a Slytherin (Harry Potter reference) scarf, and so I have about two rows cast on for that. I will finish it this month. I will!
6) She is a huge Florida Panthers fan, even though once, as a little girl, she got hit by a puck. Now that the NHL season is underway, how's your favorite team doing?
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Nope. Not a hockey fan.

7) In 2013, when this song was popular, the NHL reached an agreement with the players union and averted a strike. Have you ever belonged to a union?
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I don't know. I may have, when I worked for years at Publix, but I don't even remember. That would have been the only time.
8) Also in 2013, Pauline Philips died. Ms. Philips was better known to millions of readers as "Dear Abby." At its height, her advice column appeared in 1,400 newspapers across the country. Do you still read a printed copy of your newspaper?

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Sort of? I typically get four copies of the local paper on Sundays and that's it, but I get them for the coupons. The kids read more of the paper than I do, these days. I get my news fix online.

9) If you could get the answer to one question about your future, what would that one question be?
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Will I - and humanity on Planet Earth - survive long enough for me to meet and enjoy my own grandchildren?
I don't know about you, but the possible answers to that question scare the shit out of me.
Welp, that'll be all. Apparently I was feeling GIFfy. Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday Stealing: Monster Mash

Hey, y'all, link up here if you wish to play along this weekend!

ghost: what would you like on your tombstone?


 Actually, I don't want a tombstone. Bury me at sea!


   dracula: are you afraid of aging? or death?

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That about sums it up. I never expected to live past 33, so the past 8 years have been considered "bonus time." I never pictured myself aging. It's totally surreal - and it's cool that I'm here, but the actual physical aging part completely sucks!

  nosferatu: what, as a child, did you imagine went bump in the night?

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Actually, I did not have to imagine. Plenty of real things went bump in my nights.

    godzilla: what do you do when you are angry? are you ever destructive?

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I can be. I truly like to throw shit. But when I am super pissed, I tend to yell and say a lot of bad words, until I'm able collect myself enough to go give myself a time-out in my room.


the blob: do you collect anything? if so, what & why?

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[The above photo is not mine. Most of mine are in storage right now.] I like to travel, so I collect shot glasses from wherever I go. I have about three display cases full now and will continue. Sometimes, we even get to use them! ;)

zombie: when was the last time you trusted your gut? was it successful?

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[This photo is mine: Lucky Peak Beach in Boise, Idaho.] The last time I truly had to trust my gut was when we decided it was a good idea to uproot our family, once again, and move cross-country from Miami, Florida, to Boise, Idaho. Three teens/tween, two dogs, four cats, two gerbils, and a guinea pig, plus us parents, hauled ass for four long event-filled days to get here, and it has paid off. It is beautiful here. The people are lovely. And our kids are so much happier. Whew!

mothra: what is something dangerous that attracts or fascinates you?

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You can take the girl away from the sea, but you can't take the sea out of the girl! I will always consider myself a marine biologist, no matter how far removed from that life I have gotten. Sharks. I love them, will always love them, even I shit my dive suit when I encounter a big'un like these. I'm all in.

king kong: what are some questionable choices you've made lately?

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On the contrary, I think my choices lately have improved. I've jettisoned some childhood baggage from which I have finally released myself, and relied more on my husband and family to provide my Here and Now. I've asked for help, and gotten it. Things are better. Much, much better...

alien: what is your strangest feature?

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I'll keep it clean and stick to my flaring nostrils. I can flare them on demand. I can also wriggle my nose like a bunny. Not too fabulous, but at least it's not NSFW! ;)

cthulhu: do you like the ocean? why or why not?

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Clearly, I do, and I do not quite understand folks who do not. I am almost mystically drawn to it, and I would give up everything to be a mermaid. Maybe. ;)

nessie: have you ever felt invisible to people -- the feeling of not existing?


Oh, absolutely! When I looked like this, at 340+ lbs, I was definitely invisible. Some people, of course, looked at me with disgust and loathing, but for the most part, I was ignored. People shut doors in my face instead of holding them open, no one looked me in the eyes, let alone smiled at me... but all that changed when I lost the weight. It was almost surreal.

    mutant spider: what is one of your biggest fears?

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I've already lost one of my children. It would kill me if it happened again.


werewolf: if you could change into any nonhuman animal and back at will, what animal would you change into and why?

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I think I would be an albatross, or some other large sea bird. I could spend my days in flight and draw my life from the sea. It sounds amazing.

golem: if you could make up an imaginary friend, what would they be like and why?

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They would be someone I could laugh hysterically with over the weirdest and strangest shit, someone who "gets" me and all my quirks and neuroses, and accepts me for who I am. Someone I can get into trouble with and have fun, but not any  kind of trouble that harms anyone else! (Wait, this sounds like I'm describing my husband.)


leprechaun: what is your "pot of gold" (or white whale, if you'd rather)

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Contentment and relaxation have proven to be elusive for me throughout my adult life. However, with the newest addition of Lithium to my psych cocktail, it's kind of a "forced" relaxation that I'm actually enjoying. And I am learning to be content in the individual moment, which leads to greater happiness overall. At least, for me.

sharktopus: what is something you've done that was ridiculous or a bad decision?

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One of the worst decisions I've made was when Sophia (my youngest) was entering kindergarten, Jack (now 14) was entering second grade, and Chloë (my oldest) was entering fourth. We decided to homeschool all of the kids that year for the first time - a GREAT decision, but I also let myself be talked into leading a new Girl Scout Daisy troop with far too many girls and way too many demanding, irritating parents. Sophia was in that troop. I was also the Treasurer and the Cookie Mom for that troop and Chloë's Junior troop. I was also involved in Jack's Cub Scout Tiger troop and helping him with selling popcorn. I was also doing a crap-ton of mystery shops, sometimes maxing out at nine or 10 in a day. I was deeply overwhelmed. I lost a lot of sleep and became extremely dependent on caffeine. I still am. It was a horrible number of plates to keep spinning, while attending do my wifely and motherly duties at the same time! I'm still trying to learn to say "no," though. It's hard for me.

 robot: what is a habit you do without thinking?

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I have fidgeting skillz like the best of them. I am nonstop movement. I don't know if that is why, but I have major muscle spasms in my hands and feet now, and I'm convinced I have a Restless Leg thing going on. I remember when my dad Sperm Donor was my Sunday School teacher, and he was constantly berating me to, "Stop fidgeting, Mellie! Settle down, Mellie-Ann!" I never did, though. I couldn't!


Oh, we've reached the end! Well that was fun. I have to hop in the shower now. Have a lovely!

Sunday Stealing: Getting To Know You

What's up, y'all? Shall we dig into another round of Sunday Stealing? I thought so, too, so without further ado:


If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?

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I would probably eat my way through the world. I have no self-control when it comes to food. Today, Hubs and I went to the olive bar and bought over $15 worth of different olives. I ate half of mine on the way home (while he drove). I guess there are worse things I could have downed...

What’s your favorite piece of clothing you own / owned?

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I have always dressed for comfort over style. Always. That being said, this GAP hoodie I just picked up for a buck from the thrift store and am wearing today for the first time just might be my new favorite garment. Super comfy!

What hobby would you get into if time and money weren’t an issue?

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I would be a nonstop world traveler. Particularly by cruising. I love ocean travel!

What would your perfect room look like?

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I expect you wanted an answer about the colors of the walls, the types of furniture in there, and all that. I don't really care about that stuff. My perfect room would be full of puppies and babies for me to cuddle all day long.

How often do you play sports?

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To what fictional place would you most like to go?

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Hellooo, the chocolate factory is my idea of heaven!

What job would you be terrible at?

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Sewer worker. I would barf every single day, which I imagine would be less than helf

When was the last time you climbed a tree?

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Probably not since I was younger than Sophia, who is 12.5 years old. This kid,however, will probably be climbing them for her her entire life. The little monkey...

If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance at winning medal for?

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I bet I could get at least a bronze for my knitting skillz, yo.

What skill would you like to master?

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Well, to continue, I would like to become an official Knitting Guild Master Knitter. I have started the program, but I got about an eightieth of the way through it before Lyme Disease stole the show.

What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?

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I would love to be commissioned by NASA to travel to Jupiter. Or Mars. Or the Moon. Whatever, let's go!

If you had unlimited funds to build a house that you would live in for the rest of your life, what would the finished house be like?'

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My dream house would be completely eco-centric. I would have solar panels everywhere; high-efficiency everything; self-sustaining gardens for food and for beauty (because aesthetics are important, as well); and all the materials used to build it would be conscientiously and sustainably harvested and environmentally sound. You get the idea.

What state or country do you never want to go back to?

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Sorry, Kansas, but you get this prize. Having recently driven through Kansas on our cross-country drive from Miami to Boise, Kansas was the lowest point on the trip. It was just so utterly devoid of anything interesting to look at.

What songs have you completely memorized?

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"Kiss" by Prince; anything by Whitney Houston; old-school Madonna... okay, pretty much anything 80s. I'll always love that shit.

What do you consider to be your best find?


Why, the Hubs of course!

Are you usually early or late?

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I hate being late. I avoid it like the plague.

What pets did you have while you were growing up?

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We had a family dog who wasn't too fond of me (and it was mutual), and for a little while, I had a pet rat named Barkley. I loved him so much! He was great fun.

When people come to you for help, what do they usually want help with?

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Welp, since I homeschool the kidoodles, more often than not it's Math they want assistance with.

What takes up too much of your time?

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Being in pain 24/7 is pretty shitty. I could do without some of that. Also, bite me, full moon!

What do you wish you knew more about?

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Gardening. I hate having a black thumb!

What would be your first question after waking up from being cryogenically frozen for 100 years?

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"Was I snoring?"


Hey, everyone, thanks for stopping by! You really are appreciated.



Lavender Fields Forever

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Last month, during the Young Living 2017 International Grand Convention last month, one of my very best friends, Shana, and I had the pleasure of touring the YL lavender fields. When I say it was amazing and inspiring day, consider that an enormous understatement.

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I did not know that D. Gary Young, founder of YL, was an accomplished and avid horseman before this trip. Because my youngest kiddo, Sophia, is also enthusiastic about horses, I may have gone a little overboard in taking horse pictures on this day. (Which was June 16th, for those keeping score.)

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I had to take a picture of the outhouses, because let's be honest: I'm immature like that!

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The first interesting thing (of many!) that we came across that day was the old-timey looking "village," where I ordered Shana about this way and that, in order to get the photos I wanted of her. It was a flip-flop for our relationship, which probably has a lot to do with the fact that she is the oldest of four, while I was basically the youngest of four. "Go stand in Jail! I need your picture in the clink!" And she did.

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"Hey, go stand by that banjo player and pretend you're in the saloon!" And she did! 

Speaking of that saloon, it's a good thing we weren't really after whatever YL-based elixir they were selling in there, because the lines everywhere, including here, were unbelievable. No patience for that, have I!

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"Hey, go stand over there by that old wagon!" and she did. With real snowy mountains in the background. In June, y'all. That kept blowing my mind more than a little bit.

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Speaking of lines... After old-timey place, we ended up in the expo tent, where we could find lots of items not available online or over at the Convention Center in downtown Salt Lake City where the rest of the convention was taking place. I ended up buying Animal Scents Shampoo, to bathe the pup and cats, and a leash-attached poopy bag dispenser. That's right, I was only thinking of the pets and no one else. Sue me!! ;) Oh, but despite the extremely long line, the staff were extremely organized and knowledgeable in getting us through the line and out the door quickly, so that was quite helpful.

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Inside this little Snack Shack, they were selling Peppermint (essential oil-infused) and Lavender (same) ice cream. Oh, how I wanted to try the Peppermint! I heard it was amazing. Shana wouldn't let me, though. We're both lactose-intolerant, so she was right to do so...

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The views, both up close and in the background, were incredible, so be prepared for a load or two of this type of pix in this post!

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The landscaping at the Lavender Farm was impeccably beautiful.

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As you can see, I couldn't get enough of the beauty and had to stop to smell the roses everywhere we roamed.

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There was another huge line leading up to... what? We had no idea. Eventually, news trickled down that it was another expo-type shop where you could buy exclusives, but neither Shana nor I were interested in that, so we skipped right on back out of the line upon hearing that. Too much to do yet!

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Instead, we hopped under this nearby tent for sniffing and sampling essential oils and other products infused with YL essential oils. Mmmm, everything - and everyone - smelled so gooood!

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Having already bought the Animal Scents shampoo, I was a little interested in the giant Animal Desk Reference nearby, but then I spotted the OOLA Oils and testers! Oh, My WORD! I want all of these oils. In a near-future post on the rest of the conference, I'll explain what the OOLA life is, but I definitely plan to add these to my next order! 

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After we sniffed ourselves silly, we wandered around until there was soon another moment of "Hey, Shana, go sit on that bech over there and let me take your photo!" And she did!

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There was a large, man-made pond (we're sure, anyway), where adventurers could paddleboat, kayak, and more - but those activities were closed for the day for some reason.

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So there was this jousting event at the Lavender Farm. I was very confused as to why there were would be such a thing at this tour, not knowing how hugely (bigly?) D. Gary Young was into horses, still, so though it was evident to me that Shana wanted to attend the jousting match, I gave her a lot of pushback as to actually going. I just didn't wanna! So off we went to do other things... for now.

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"Hey Shana, get over there and pretend you're being eaten by that dragon!" ...and she did. Y'all know the drill by now. Way to go, Shana, for being such a splendid sport about playing along with my shenanigans!

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Lunch was delicious, and the lines were pretty well organized. There were several for "regular" eaters, and then down at the end, there were two lines for Gluten-Free needs (Shana's line) and for Vegan eaters (my line). We both still had quite the spread, despite our restrictions! I had a potato and bean salad, a regular lettuce salad, a wolfberry compote of some sort, and multigrain chips and red pepper hummus. We were both too full for dessert, but neither of us probably could have partaken anyway, so there was no major loss there.

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This band, playing near the food tents, was epic. They were playing a wonderful love song dedicated to Chicken Pot Pie, which was both catchy and endearing. I need to find it on YouTube or something, because I kind of loved it myself. Hee!

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And then, we happened upon yet another musical act, which makes what? Three now? This time, they were actual bagpipers, with tartan kilts and the whole 9 yards. They were spectacular. I think I took a video, but I'm not sure it will show up here.

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We found all these flags, and it took me a minute to understand what they were all about, some being American, but many being from other... countries??

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Leaving the flags behind, we headed for a tour of the distillery. 

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"Hey Shana, go stand over here by those boiling hot stills and lemme grab your photo, eh?" And you know what happened.

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If I have to be completely honest, touring the distillery was probably my least favorite part of the farm visit. Why? Probably because it was so excruciatingly HOT in there!! I think about 1000 degrees F. No lie... ;)

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Hotter than hot.

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Actually, if you want to know why the odd color that looks nothing like lavender, it was was because it wasn't quite lavender harvesting season. Instead, they were distilling juniper. It did smell lovely in there, even if it did feel like we were down i the seventh circle of hell! HOT!

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Shana was surprised by how little equipment was in the laboratory for the distillery, because they run such stringent tests on each batch of essential oils, but I had no explanation for that. Maybe this one was just for show?

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Ahh, more flags on the outside. And then it became clearer to me. I realized that each flag must represent one of Young Living's farms or Partner Farms around the world. Which is a lot, because they go straight to the source of the best plants for the purest, most excellent oils, and so different parts of the world surely grow different oil-producing plants more ... beautifully.

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Oh, look! More horses, going somewhere! But where were they going??

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And now for a very exciting part! We caught a golf cart ride over to the lavender planting field, where we were each given our own lavender plant to bestow upon the earth over there in yonder field. You'll see.

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Shana was SO excited to plant her little baby. Truth be told, so was I! She took pictures of me planting mine as well, but I've gained some serious weight and am not happy with how I look in them, so those shots have gone "missing." ;)

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There you go, baby seedling. Grow up proud and strong, and come back to us in bottled form. LOL! ;)

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Here we are, in our Lavender Fields Forever! Soon they will be FULL of oil-producing lavender. Yay!

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At last, we finally decided to head to the jousting match, because, OH, WHY NOT?! I'm so glad we did. We climbed up into one set of bleachers that turned out to be the perfect place to land, and set to watching. Look who this is! D. Gary Young himself, prancing about with his Friesian steed, whose name was Bandito, and who happens to be  Sophia's favorite breed of horse. She was so excited when I told her about this later!

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So first, we watched the parade of horses, horse men and -women, and of course there aga
in with the American flag is D. Gary Young. So far, I was intrigued.

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And then the parade of nobility retreated, and the jousting match was set to begin.

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Mary Young, wife of Gary and co-founder of Young Living, sang the National Anthem. Shana kept whispering and pointing, "There she is, there she is!!" But I was dumb, like, "Who? What? Where? WHERE?" Until I realized she literally meant right THERE, just a handful of rows in the bleachers in front of us. Swoon...! We both were itching for a photo op with her, but the timing had to be just right.

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Mary Young was very intent on watching her husband in the jousting, though he didn't participate in any competitiveness. 

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Soon, the Lord and Lady of the presentation joined Mary Young up in the bleachers - right in front of us!

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I have a bajillion pictures of the various competitions, but I'll just share a small portion of them. In this game, the riders had to use their jousting stick thingies to catch rings of increasingly smaller sizes for points. The smaller the ring, the higher the points. I didn't know for whom to root, so I just rooted for everyone. Ha!

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We determined that this young man, who brought Mary Young a rose, was her grandson. They were very affectionate throughout the rest of the jousting match. Yeah, I was kind of stalking her a little bit. So? No harm, no foul.

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After each game, the winners would take their victory lap around the arena while everyone cheered. Woooo!

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Back to Mary. She must have known these two women, as they were talking up a storm for a while at the front of our set of bleachers. I was hopeful that this was our "in" to get a photo with her for Shana, who was gushing at the thought!

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This was the light jousting, without full armor. I think this one was when the young woman, the sole female jouster, won the match! Woot woot!

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Bandito the Friesian made another brief appearance to show his prancing dressage.

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Wait, what's this? We finally managed to get a shot with Shana and Mrs. Mary Young! Woohoo! Two beautiful women, right there.

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And now, the full-armor jousting. This was fast-paste and intense, y'all!

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Uh-oh. One of the jousters was thrown off his horse, and now he's turnt around and starting trouble. No, no, no, Mr. Jouster Man!

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What, wait, what's happening now? Threats! Threats, everyone! Take cover! ;)

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Triumph! I don't exactly know what happened, but look - pretty horses, Sophia! <3 hahaha

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And then it was my turn to geek out and get verklempt over a photo together with Mrs. Mary Young! So exciting!! Thank you Mrs. Young, and thank you, Shana, for taking the picture!

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Back to the jousting - another man down! Eek.

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Finally, the jousting show was over, but not for nothing. Shana and I were both stoked with what happened, from beginning to end, but especially with getting to meet Mary Young! That was the cream of the crop, as far as we were concerned. So thrilled!

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As the Lord and Lady left, Lady spotted my lens on her and gave me a personal wave. I don't know why, but I thrilled to that, as well.

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A few closing acts circled the arena, from a butterfly lady, to a woman on stilts, to a man with fire wings, to child play-jousters, to a man eating fire!

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Oh, we needed a few more photos of ourselves in front of the snowy mountain peaks - in JUNE! Can you tell I could not get over it? I couldn't.

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This photo was a funny one, because Shana got bumped in the back by one of the knights, who deadpanned, "Relax, lady, that's just my armor!" We all laughed, and I snapped the picture. Lots of giggling about that one!

Lavender Farm Day 220

There was this Lavender Labyrinth that was supposed to lead to some sort of spiritual awakening, but by that point, we were just done. Shana walked in a little ways and smelled the lavender, but that was about it. My bones were aching, so I just wanted patiently. 

Lavender Farm Day 223

This again?! Yep. You can't see her, but Shana was totally in that one right there. Hee hee hee.

Ah, I found the bagpipers' video. I thought it was longer. And, uh, better. But you get the gist. 

So that was our Lavender Farm trip, and we both loved every second of it. It was incredible. Hope you enjoyed it, too





Wordless Wednesday: A New Lease On Lacey

2016-06-08 16.45.05

Sophia decided she was ready to stop riding Buddy exclusively after five months, and she switched to a more challenging mare instead this past week: Lacey! ♥ Welcome, Lacey! ♥


Feeling wordless today (okay, so it was yesterday; shh!) yourself? Link up here with 5 Minutes For Mom to participate in the fun!


Sunday Stealing: Feisty Twenty-Five Meme

Link up here if you're stealing today, too!

I'm glad to take part this week. I had last week's almost finished when my computer shut down in the middle of it, and I was so frustrated by that, I didn't blahg all the rest of the week.

Wah, wah, wah. Anyway. So. Let's go!


Cheers to all of us thieves!!! 

Feisty Twenty-five

Do you like to see it snowing outside?

Listen, I live so far south in Florida I'm almost to Key Largo. If I saw it snowing out my window, I would damn near blow a gasket!

Do you tell your family you love them enough?

I tell them all the time! I hope that my actions show it, too. I adore these people who family with me!

Do you like getting jewelry or do you not wear any?

I do like getting jewelry, but it doesn't have to be super blingy to win my favor. I don't like tacky and huge so much as... unusual. I'm a big fan of jewelry from the Novica website.

Do you watch a lot of NFL football?


Have you ever used the word ‘lame’?

I say lame all the time... so? This meme kind of is, speaking of which...

Are you/were you in a band? If so, what was your band name?

No. But I love to come up with funny band names, a la Dave Barry. Does that count?

When is the last time you went to the doctor?

Shit. I live at the doctor. I don't think I went this WEEK, though? Which would be a first. Saturday may have been my last visit.

Do you own any shirts with a peace symbol on it?

In college, I bought a shirt tie-dyed in Jamaican flag colors, with peace signs and MLK on it. My racist pig of a father threw it out when he found it. Asshat.

Would you ever go to Japan?

Abso-freaking-lutely! After Australia, Japan is second on my wishlist of places to visit!

What was the last thing you went to Walmart for?

Milk, probably, though I avoid the place like the plague on society that it is!

Ever gotten in a car accident?

Yeah, a few. The worst was when my dad was driving and I was sleeping, and we were hit in the middle of the night by a drunk driver. It was pretty horrible. We didn't end up pressing charges, though I'm sure he got in a serious amount of trouble nonetheless!

Have you ever been in a choir?

I was in choir all through school. I'd love to be in one now, but I'm I don't have the confidence to audition. Maybe I'll work on that this year.

Do you like the color of your eyes? If not, what color would you want them?

They're brown with hard-to-see rings of green around the brown. My sister and grandfather have had green eyes... I wish I did, too.

When was the last time you went ice skating?

It's probably been about 20 years... if not 30! I really can't remember.

Do you like to brush your teeth?

I do, but I take out all my stress on them. I brush way too hard, and it's eroding my poor gums. It's a problem!

Have you ever had a surgery?


I had three c-sections to get our four babies out, then a hysterectomy and then, after I ballooned up to 341.3 lbs, I had gastric bypass surgery. This is me now, six years later.

Do you look older or younger than you actually are?

I don't know. You decide; I'll be 40 this year.

When is the next time you’ll be up on stage?

Never, if I can help it!

Where did you spend your last birthday?


We went to the Melting Pot for my birthday, Hubs' and oldest daughter Chloë's birthday too!

What is the last show that you watched a full episode of?

I watched at least three hours' worth of back-to-back Reba episodes while knitting this evening. Silly.

Do you know anyone who lives in Utah?

I have one or two Facebook friends up there, whom I have never met in person. Maybe one day!

Is there anything you need to work on doing soon?

2016 is the year of decluttering this crap, and we are working on it a little bit every day. I need to do today's 'little bit.'

Do your feelings get hurt easily?

Oh, God, yes. I am HIGHLY sensitive. Ridiculously so. It's irksome, but there doesn't seem to be anything I can do about it, so eh!

Do you, or do you know someone who has taken karate lessons?


My youngest two, Sophia and Jack, took lessons this past Autumn. Both hated it.

Were you ever a boy or girl scout?

I was a Brownie, and big Sis was whatever the next step up was back in the early 80s. Hubs was a Cub Scout. All of our kids used to do Scouting, but none do now. I know the oldest wants to get back in, so I will be pursuing that soon.

Well! It looks like I reached the end of one, finally. Yay!

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 Big Bad Meme

Are you stealing today, too? Why, then, you should link up right here!

Big Bad Meme

from: Love Me Some Surveys

Is there anyone else in the room with you at the moment? What are they doing? 


 These two sleeping beauties (Paco the Chihuhua & Otto the GSD), along with their snoozing Papa, Hubs, on the couch behind me

Do you show your teeth when you smile, or do you prefer smiling with your lips closed? 


You tell me: Here I am yesterday at my alma mater's (the University of Miami) homecoming football game, with my babes. P.S. We won! Go 'Canes!

Would you rather be told the truth, even if it isn’t what you want to hear? 

There is a way to tell those awkward truths without being hurtful... that's what I prefer.

What is something that you plan to buy, as soon as you’ve saved up the money for it? 


I'm a grown-up. What I'm waiting for right now is our next payday, so that I can put new brake pads on the van and spay our last un-altered pet, Sugarplum. Exciting stuff, right?

Do you play Sudoku?

I used to be a little bit addicted to it. I've pulled back, so I only play now and then anymore.

Have you ever had a migraine? 

I have frequent migraines. They suck. I don't have one right now, which is a fantastic rarity for me.

What was the last book you read for pleasure? 

I read Relic and then started the next book in the Agent Pendergast series, Reliquary, but I have not had time to get too far into that one. I have the next 3 books lined up, too. Better get movin'!

What was the last item of clothing you purchased for yourself? 

I bought matching orange Nautica shirts for Hubs and myself, to go to the homecoming party on Friday night.

Your first serious relationship, do you still talk to him?

Yes, Ben and I are facebook friends, and my family and his had dinner together when mine went to Central New York for my high school reunion last year. All sweet and friendly and lambs and butterflies and stuff!

Who is the last person you texted?

A creepy guy texted me. I told him he was creepy and to leave me alone. That's about it!

How close is your family?

Yeah, what that ^ ^ ^ said!

Is there anything too serious to be joked about? 

Yes, of course. Of course there are things.

Do you like to understand and have good knowledge of things?

Who wouldn't? Who doesn't?

What is worse? Back pain or shoulder pain?

I can't begin to quantify what your pain is to me, or what my pain is to you. But a pain in the ass? Now that's entirely different...

Have you ever almost fallen off of something high off the ground?

 No, because I rarely put myself in that danger. I've suffered from vertigo since I was a young teenager, and I get dizzy easily, especially from heights. Nope, no thanks.

What’s one fruit you love in drinks?

I have never had a Bloody Mary, but I had a killer Strawberry Daiquiri the other day. If it hadn't been so high in sugar, I could have had ten more, but yummo!

What is something simple that you’re afraid of? 

My mustard phobia is well-documented around these parts. I can't even stand it to touch me, or be near me... if it does, I freak out like a bitty girl!

Has this weekend been good? 


Yes, homecoming as an alum was SO fun!! Go 'Canes!!! ;)

 How much time do you take to get ready in the morning?

As little as possible, but I gotta take a bath first (I can't shower because our water pressure is crap), so that takes the most time... 

Last movie you watched in theaters and with whom?


I think the last movie was Jurassic World, with the whole fam-damily in tow. Next up: Mockingjay Part II. I can't wait!

Thanks for stopping by!



Saturday 9: Lucky Star

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

Saturday 9: Lucky Star (1983)

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

1. Have you ever wished upon a star?

Yeah. I used to wish I would drop dead suddenly, when I was 8-17 years old. I never did, dammit, and it used to piss me off greatly! I don't wish that - or anything else - on stars anymore.

2. In the 1980s, Madonna considered her wrist bangles one of her fashion trademarks. What's one of your fashion trademarks?

My nose ring, of course! I took it out to get an MRI the other day, and it took my family 2 days to notice. I keep forgetting to put it back in...

3. Though she got good grades, Madonna could be disruptive at school, known for turning cartwheels in the halls between classes. Can you do a cartwheel?

I used to be able to, but I can't anymore thanks to arthritis.

4. Her high grade point average earned her a dance scholarship to the University of Michigan, home of the Wolverines. Do you follow college football?

Meh, not really. I mean, I try to keep track of my University of Miami Hurricanes, but that proves to be difficult without TV service! However... I think we're getting it again soon after years without out. Woooo!

5. Madonna co-starred in the movie version of Dick Tracy. Do you enjoy comics?

I used to, when I was a kid. It's just not something I really take pleasure in as an adult.

6. She played Argentinian First Lady Eva Peron in the biopic, Evita, and directed a movie about Wallis Simpson. What famous 20th century woman do you wish you could meet/could have met?

Hmm... So many! And everyone I can think of is still relevant in the 21st century. Oh, bother, I'll still choose one: Martha Stewart. I love that woman!

7. Madonna authored a children's book called The English Roses. Tell us about a book that had a big impact on you when you were a kid.

I loved the Anne of Green Gables series by Lucy Maud Montgomery.

8. One of Madonna's "vocal idols" is Ella Fitzgerald. Who is your all-time favorite female singer?

I think Alanis Morisette is my favorite female singer. I do love Madonna too, though!

9. Madonna once did a Pepsi commercial. What beverages are in your refrigerator right now?

I don't remember that! In our fridge, we have Diet Coke and milk. And Lactaid. I think that's it.

Thanks for stopping by! Come back soon, I have oodles more to post.


Sunday Stealing: Shop On The Corner Meme

Link up here if you're thieving today!

Shop On The Corner Meme 

Stolen from: FYeah Surveys

What kind of job did your mom have when you were growing up? 

She died young, when I was 7 and she was 33, back in 1984. She was home with us, as far as I can remember, but my dad tells me she had been working as a secretary when she died. I just don't remember that. He says she would have loved computers, though... but they weren't really around back then.

 Have you ever known anyone who’s been on tv, including you? 

My daughter, Chloe (that's her page on IMDB), is an actress. She has been in several films as well as the "Dark Dreams" episode of A Haunting on the Discovery Channel. She's done other stuff (modeling in the Dollar Tree ads several times, etc.)... but she hasn't worked since we moved to Miami and Hubs got sick. She's in demand back up in Virginia, so I should probably work on finding her an agent down here!

(He's looking in at my daughter in this scene, but I couldn't find a screenshot of her...)

 What was the most interesting animal you have seen in the wild?

When I was in graduate school, I was doing a reef survey out in the Dry Tortugas. A juvenile nurse shark - one of the most docile sharks - kept swimming in and out of my survey plot during the course of my work. She was sweet, and it was the first time I swam with a shark. Even though I knew she had no plans to harm me, it was quite a rush!

 What holiday do you enjoy the most? 

I enjoy everything about Independence Day (America's); it's my favorite day of the year.

 What was the first video game you ever played? 

When my mom was still alive, she was a big fan of Atari's Frogger. I seem to remember that was my first video game. We had Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, and all those original games, but I was never as good as Mom and my sister. I still suck at arcade games!

 What is the one thing you own, that if it got lost, you would be bummed?

Everything, and nothing. I don't like it when my stuff goes missing, but in the end, it's all really just stuff. And that just doesn't matter so much.

 Do you have a favorite breakfast item? 

I eat a lot of eggs since my gastric bypass surgery. I don't eat meat, but I have high protein requirements, so the eggs help. I eat them all the time. (Truthfully, a cheese Danish is my favorite, but I can't really go eating those anymore now, can I?)

 What do you find yourself buying all the time? 

Eggs, for reasons that should be clear now, and milk. My kids are whole milk fanatics.

 When was the last time you got a real letter in the mail? 

I can't even remember, but my kids get the occasional penpal letter. Sophia just sent her latest one out yesterday.

 Do you have a most prized piece of jewelry?

My wedding and engagement rings mean the most to me. I have to take them off all the time because my fingers swell up when I get hot, which is constantly, and I hate that. Putting them back on when I get cold again is the best!

 Do you own any board games? 

Yeah, we have a few. Lately we've been playing the family edition of Trivial Pursuit. That's probably my favorite game, even though I keep getting all the ridonk questions!

 What chore seems the most daunting right now? 

Cleaning up my desk. It's the most never-ending task. Everything just seems to land right. Here.

 Were you born in the state you live in? 

I'm a native New Yawka, but no, I live in Florida now. Again.

 Have you ever lived in a house that has been broken into? 

When we lived in Portsmouth, VA, before moving here, our house was burgled several times. My daughter's brand-new bicycle was taken, my Nikon DSLR, Hubs' fishing stuff... ugh. It makes me sick to think that we lived there. What a mistake that was.

 What is your favorite cheese? 

love cheese so much. All cheese except maybe Limburger. But I think Meunster is my favorite.

 Who do you know that watches the most sports? 


Too many people to count! I am not a sports nut, nor did I marry one, and for that I am thankful. I'm forever thinking to myself, "It's JUST a game!!!"

And that is all.