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Sunday Stealing: ID Questions

Hey, you guys! You came back! Wanna hear something crazy? I had what, in these uncertain times of my health going from bad to worse regularly, I would consider a pretty decent day Saturday. I spent a couple of hours just {yes, I know} browsing Bed, Bath & Beyond with Chloë, getting absolutely nothing, and then getting a few "deals and steals" at Walgreens after that (hey, six free toothpastes ain't a bad haul, for starters), and she and I just get along famously when we're out and about together like that. And that set the tone for the remainder of my day, with multiple laughing-'til-I-cried experiences with the rest of the family after that. Yeah, I'm not talking about my physical difficulties, but that's because regardless of those, if I have a good outward day, I can ignore that stuff for a while. So I did. :)

But anyway.

I'm happy you're here for Sunday Stealing (I almost wrote "Saturday Sunday," because they're enmeshed in my brain). Link up here if you're playing along today!

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1: Three Fears ~

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a: nightmares (last night's was about scary dancing pandas - weird!); b: dying before my children are grown; and, c: of my dogs running out into traffic


2: Three things I love ~

Chloe 12th Grade 1

a: Chloë, who will be 17 in under three weeks;

Jack 10th Grade

b: Jack, 15; and,

Sophia 8th Grade

c: Sophia, who is 13 going on 19!


3: Four turns on ~

four?!! Hmm...

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a: Rob, obviously, who (since we're giving away ages here) will be 46 on the 30th;

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b: good yarn; in this case, it's Madeline Tosh merino wool in "Light Turquoise";

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c: Singing to good music turned up loud in the car with the windows down; and,

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d: Pure happiness and joy

4: Four turns off ~

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a: Smoking;

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b: Child abuse;

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c: sloooooow drivers; and,

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d: careless people who litter - & its effects on wildlife

5: My best friend ~

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I am fortunate enough to have two, both of whom I met in 6th grade and went all through the rest of middle, junior, and high school with: Lisa Joy & Shana Marie, both of whom I love with all my heart and definitely don't feel like I deserve!

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{Photo of Lisa & me in a photo booth at CocoWalk, in Coconut Grove, Florida, during Lisa's Spring Break, circa April 1997}

6: My favorite book ~

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I haven't read nearly all of these book by Jodi Picoult, but I have read My Sister's KeeperThe Tenth CircleNineteen Minutes, and Songs of the Humpback Whale (maybe others??), and I feel like all of them plus any more of her oeuvre that I'm going to read are my favorites, so can I make it her entire body of work?!

7: My best first date ~ 

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Well, obviously I think, I would have to say that was my first date with Rob! In mid-November 2000, he came down to St. Petersburg, FL, from Panama City Beach, FL, to meet me in person after an odd first acquaintanceship (is that a word?!) online. We went to a Chinese take-out/eat-in restaurant for lunch and spent a long, long time there getting to know each other. We were the only customers who were dining in, so the staff were paying us a lot of curious attention, but I don't think either of us cared. Fast-forward to a year later, and we were already married and parents of a tiny baby, Chloë Raine - with three more to soon follow! Yup, I think there was romance in my vegetable lo mein...

8: How tall am I ~

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At 5'1½", I think I'm short enough. However, my tiny little pixie girl, Chloë Rainebow, is maxed out at 4'9½" and is super cute to boot!


9: What do I miss ~ 

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Now that Chloë nearing 17 and in her senior year of high school, Jack has a job, and Sophie towers over me at 5'4" with no end in sight, I've been missing their younger years something fierce lately!

10: What time was I born ~

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Oh, I don't know, on time I guess?? ;) Since my DOB is 9/8/76, though, I like to joke that I was also born at 5:43:21 PM!

11: Favorite color ~

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Something like this would be my idea color palette, with the middle color being my favoritest fave


12: Do I have a crush ~

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Honestly? This may sound corny but after almost 18 years together, seeing Rob persevere through prostate cancer and numerous serious complications in recent months has me crushing on him all over again. Weird circumstance, but I love him with my whole heart and entire soul, and that's that.

13: Favorite quote ~

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I'm really not good at remembering quotes and jokes and whatnot, but I've always remembered this one from Dirty Dancing!

14: Favorite place ~

Totally Bamboo® Idaho Destination Cutting Board

Gosh, I'm getting really cheesy again, but it's wherever my family members are. So right now, that's Idaho. (And P.S. If I had a spare $30, I'd totally be getting myself this State of Idaho cutting board. Love it!)

15: Favorite food ~

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New York-style pizzeria pizza - yummo!

16: Do I use sarcasm?

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What do you think?

17: What am I listening to right now?

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I'm watching a new-to-me rerun of Fixer Upper, a show I just starting getting into, like, yesterday.

18: First thing I notice in a new person ~

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Whether they just smile with their mouths, or if it reaches their eyes to show it's genuine

19: Eye color ~

Week 32 of 52 - JUST FOR ME

They used to be dark brown, but as I'm getting older, they're getting lighter brown with a ring of green around each iris

20: Hair color ~ 

See above; it's auburn, but I'm getting ready to dye it darker brown probably later this week.

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That was a super fun meme! Thanks for the great thievery, Bev! And thanks to y'all for reading along with me!

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: Curious As A Cat

I'm here this week! Woot! I had a 4-day migraine and didn't think I'd be back at all, but it finally broke this morning. Phew! On to business: Link up here if you'd like to play along with us this week!

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1) Do you think you’d be a good writer? What kind of writer would you like to be (fiction, children’s books, magazine, etc.)?

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I plan to write novels and a few non-fiction books, but I can't seem to get over the hump of this chronic illness I've been lumped with in order to get much of it even started. Very frustrating to have it all going on in my head but not be able to put it down in writing. :\

2) I wish I had enough money to ________.

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... help my college-bound kids go to the school of their choice(s) and then travel the world!

3) If you had to enter a competition for the "Most Uselessly Unique Talent," what would your talent be?

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Uhhh, I guess that I can do this with my fingers, too? LOL

4) When it might hurt their feelings, how do you feel about telling your friends the truth?

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I get really shy about things like that. It's hard for me...

5) Peanut or plain?

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I like both. I also like the almond ones, the peanut butter ones, and pretty much all but the weird, new flavored ones. Coffee M&Ms? No thanks!

6) Is there someone you would like to take your place in life for one day? Who and why?

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Maybe my dad, and anyone else who doesn't understand what it is that I go through on a daily basis just to do the bare minimum of functioning, let alone actually accomplish things like schooling the kids, etc. But especially my dad. Then he can f- off. ;)

7) What do you think is the ugliest thing or event on Earth?

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This kind of hypocrisy

8) What is your least favorite of your personality traits or quirks?

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I like to plan and carefully lay out what we/I am going to do and when, how, etc. But then, sometimes I have this spontaneous, impulsive need to go 180º off-plan. Sometimes it has worked out really well; often, it has not.

9) I wish I could see ________ because _________.

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My mother, because she was the most important person in my life for the 7½ years I was able to know her, and she has remained so since. And because I would love to just sit and relate to her, adult to adult, woman to woman, and see how she would be with my kids, my family... This Monday will mark 34 years since she left this Earth.

10) Tell us your favorite children's story.

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I have this weird obsession with Rikki-Tikki-Tavi by Rudyard Kipling, ever since it was read to us in the library when I was 8 years old or so.
                           
11) What do you keep in the trunk of your car?

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We have a minivan, so not a true "trunk," per se... but in the back we keep car stuff and... my hated wheelchair. I don't use it as much as I probably should, because I hate having to use it and not being able to walk. It's a thorn in my side.

12) Describe your perfect, rainy afternoon.

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Rainy days are made for napping - and looking for rainbows near the end; this is key. I was born for finding rainbows! If I'm up to it, I'll be cooking an Instagram-worthy meal (yeah, I'm into that, so?). Reading a book. That's about it.

13) Tell us about your favorite way to get lost in a simple activity — running, chopping vegetables, folding laundry, whatever. What’s it like when you’re in "the zone"?

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I try to stay out of "the zone" these days, because I get in that trance state, which leads to me falling asleep very quickly. If I'm not completely alert, I could put myself and maybe others in some danger. Seriously, the thought of being "in the zone" while chopping vegetables scares the shit out of me right now. My poor fingers!

14) What parts of nature do you like best?

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All of nature is stunningly beautiful to me. All of it. I think right now I'm digging on waterfalls, though. We'll have to find the closest doable hike for one near Boise soon!

15) What's the kindest act you have ever seen done (either to/by you or another)?

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Practicing Random Acts of Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty = something I have made a priority ever since this mind-state became known to me in grade school. I don't like to call attention to those I have done, so I will mention one done to me. When we lived in Miami, and we were in the poorest state we've ever found ourselves, right after Rob retired from the Navy and then his brain tumor issues started. Neither of us had jobs, and his disability stuff hadn't kicked in; his retirement pension paid our rent and not much more, so thankfully at least we weren't homeless! Anyway, I'd taken enough money (so I thought) to walk to the store for some groceries for the next few days, and I had both of my daughters with me. Naturally, I had coupons for everything I possibly could, 'cause that's how I roll. I get to the checkout, everything is rung up, and the coupons are taken off, but I ended up several dollars short. I was trying to count out a bunch of change to see what I could cover. The very patient, older lady behind me took out her wallet and said to both the cashier and me, "Hey, I've been in this situation before. Don't worry; I'll cover it. Just pay it forward." She paid for the whole thing. I cried all the way home out of gratitude. And fortunately, I can say I have been able to pay it forward and forward and forward. ♥

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Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.


Saturday 9: My Funny Valentine

Hello, hello! Welcome back to the fray. Make sure you link up here to play along this week, and let's jump right into the fray!

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Saturday 9: My Funny Valentine (1991)
 
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) In this song, Ms. Kitt sings that her lover is her favorite work of art. Tell us about a piece of artwork you can see from where you're sitting now. (Yes, that crayon drawing created by your 5-year-old nephew counts.)
 
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So, I normally write about the Britto, but I'll mention this one instead (which happens to be just to the left of the big Britto, currently.)  We bought this fish rack hook rack from an antiques shop shortly after we bought our house in Virginia Beach, VA, in 2003. I hang my keys an extra keychain or two on there; Hubs hangs a carabiner or seven with various and sundry things on them on his hook, and we then we hang the dog leashes on the third hook. We have a pretty fish-themed style going on, and I love this piece!

2) She asks him to not change his hair. When will you next find yourself in the stylist's chair?
 
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I was supposed to go last week, but the care and upkeep of Chloë's long curls came to a head (heh heh) this month, costing so much I had to scrap my plans for a trim. I cut my own bangs and called it a day.

3) Ms. Kitt always wanted to be a performer and attended the New York School of Performing Arts (aka the "Fame" school). Think back to your high school self. In what ways would you be surprised by how your life turned out?
 
 
Ha, well, by this point I figured I'd be a world-renowned marine scientist with a Nobel prize (for what?! I don't know) under my belt. I actually thought that! I had no doubts. I certainly didn't think that at 41, I'd be looking at raising three teenagers. And I most definitely didn't plan on homeschooling them even after they came along! Life is so weird.

4) Ms. Kitt took over the role of Catwoman on TV's Batman. Name another Batman villain.

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The Penguin!
 
5) Ms. Kitt enjoyed tremendous success performing in Parisian nightclubs. Have you ever been to Paris? 
 
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Not yet! Chloë wants to get engaged there (currently there is no suitor, haha)! I have been to Nice, and Eze, in France... but not Paris. I'd love to go with Hubs sometimes and stroll the Champs-élysées and of course, smooch atop the Eiffel Tower. One day.
  
This is the last Saturday  9 before Valentine's Day and so this morning we shall focus on the upcoming holiday. 

6) The holiday is also known as The Feast of St. Valentine. Do you have a special meal planned for next Wednesday?
 
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I might have a little something up my sleeve (which I can't yet divulge, since certain family members read these posts), but definitely no feast. I'm not one to go all out - or expect anything - for Valentine's Day.

7) The phrase "wear your heart on your sleeve" began in medieval times. On Valentine's Day, men would celebrate the holiday by displaying their lady love's name on their sleeves. If you were going to adopt this custom, whose name would you wear?

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Well, I'm not a man, but I would wear Rob's name on my sleeve. He has a piece of my heart, for sure. Having just celebrated the fourth anniversary of his brain surgery, he has just received a cancer diagnosis (not of the brain). I'm trying not to just fall apart... I love him so.
 
8) Women buy and send more Valentines than men do. What's the last greeting card you received?
 
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The last ones we've received were for Christmas. I plan on giving out a few on Valentine's Day, myself.
  
9) Men buy and send more roses at Valentine's Day than women do. What's your favorite flower?
 
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Tiger lilies are absolutely my favorite flowers, so much so that we named our first German Shepherd Dog after them:
 
 
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If they must be roses, however, then my favorites are yellow.
 
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Fun questionnaire this week, Crazy Sam! Thanks for doing this!
 
Fin.

Sunday Stealing: Something Different Meme

Welcome back! Link up here if you're playing along with Sunday Stealing today. Here we go:

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Writes Bev: "Here's something different for this week.  
 
"There is a woman named "Wendy Weetabix" who wrote a blog called That's My Bix, but the last entry was from 2015.  But she has been posting random questions for the past several months on Facebook.  I went through and picked a few of them for us to answer this week."
 
1. What is a normal thing that took you an embarrassingly long time to learn?
 
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Welp, I suspect more than one person will say telling Right from Left - and me, too - but I just learned the other day that Greenland is a territory of Denmark. I either never knew that or just forgot and relearned it, but I felt stupid after learning it this time! ;)
 
 

2. In what ways are you old-fashioned?
 
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I'm not very old-fashioned in a very lot of ways, being quite a leftward Liberal. But by the same token, I've become kind of a homebody. My husband and kids are my favorite people in the world, and I get to hang out with them every single day! (We homeschool.) I bake and cook, I knit and crochet... my kids jokingly call me "Grandma" when I'm fiddling with sticks and string! And Martha Stewart is my home-making idol - no lie!
 

3. What is the best sandwich you've ever eaten? Where did you get it? What made it so delicious?
 
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(Note: This picture was not it.) When I worked as a legal secretary in St. Pete, Florida, there was a bagel/deli in the same plaza, down at the other end. I didn't go there too terribly often, but on occasion, I would venture over. They had so many choices! But I will never forget the time that I ordered a Fruit & Nut bagel with their homemade Strawberry Cream Cheese. So maybe not technically a sammich, but it was crazy-good!
 
 

4. What are you currently not bragging about that you should totally brag about? 
 
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So I'm going the opposite route here: I run this weekly online auction on Facebook, and people pick up from my house when they have won something(s) from me. Usually, I send one of my girls out (my son is pretty much scared of people) because my pain level is too high, and today it was Sophia who went out. The woman, who was new to my auction group, was very impressed by my youngest, Sophia. The woman overpaid by a dollar and refused the change I sent Sophie out with before she left. It was declined, and then the above conversation ensued. I was beaming! And so yes, I totally bragged about it. ;)
 
 
5. What food have you never tasted and are most interested in trying? 
 
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Paella! Maybe not in as gigantical a paella pan as this one, but Seafood Paella is a Bucket List item for sure! And I think it may be happening in the near future. ;) Have you ever had it?
 

6. What history facts were you surprised to learn because it was never covered in school?
 
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First let me say this: As a former public school student who now homeschools my own kids, it sometimes rankles me that we hardly covered ANY of the world's give-or-take 200 countries in my Social Studies classes. I mean, I had to learn all the, what, 17 different republics or states or whatever that made up the former USSR, but I learned virtually nothing about Latin America until I went to college and took a semester-long course on recent Latin American History.
 
BUT, as a homeschooling parent who is now studying Brazil, preceded by Canada and to be succeeded by South America, I have also come to respect that class(room) time is extremely precious. Every wasted moment on scolding for behavior or other intrusions in the schedule is a moment taken from time for actual instruction. And with 30+ kids per class these days, there are bound to be tons more interruptions than we have with just three! So that rankling dissipates...
 
So to answer this question (FINALLY!), I will say that I had no idea how corrupt Brazil's government has been since the beginning, how many times its leadership has changed over after a political coup, or just how... difficult it has been to have peace for Brazilians.
 

7. What is something that you waited entirely too long to start or stop doing? What made you say "Why did I wait so long?"
 
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It just occurred to me, four-plus years into Rob's retirement from the U.S. Navy, that I could delegate some of the responsibilities of homeschooling to him! Well, to be fair, for 21/years of that he was downed by the brain tumor, but since then! We school year-round, and it just recently occurred to me that I could have him grade math papers! DUH! That takes a huge load off my plate, y'all! Sometimes I even have Chloe grade the papers of the younger two, but that's rarer. Such a relief to have that taken care of fairly effortlessly on my part now.

8. What socially expected thing do you hate doing the most? What thing about polite society really grinds your gears? 
 
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SMALL TALK!! I suck at it, I hate the inane exchange of pleasantries. If I can't have a real, meaningful conversation with someone, I'd just as soon not bother beyond the "hi, have a nice day, thank you, bye" stuff with, like, a cashier or someone. As for what grinds my gears, it's the social construct that dictates we must always be upbeat and positive with strangers. I'm sorry, I have Chronic, Late-Stage Lyme Disease, which is not a recognized illness by most of the medical society in this country, and I suffer every moment of every day. Lately, I've been amusing myself by answering, when asked how I am, "Do you want the truth or the socially acceptable version?" Maybe I'm a whiny, over-complaining brat, but IDGAF anymore. :\
 
 

9. What is something about your city that I should know if I'm going to visit? What is the hidden "must see" that you always tell friends and visitors to not miss?
 
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Well, you should know that's it's extremely dry here. When we got here from Miami, I could barely talk, my mouth was so dry all the time. And that still happens, even though I've acclimated to it! I've actually been diagnosed with Diabetes Insipidus because of the constant drinking I have to do. I don't know the greater Boise area well enough yet, having only been here for five months, but I would say the "must sees" are all the natural wonders here and around Idaho. OMG, it's SUCH a beautiful state. The mountains! The valleys! The lakes and rivers! The mountains. Just so gorgeous, everywhere you look.

10. What do you miss most about childhood?
 
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You may remember that my mother died when I was seven years old, and that life was hell after that, so not a whole helluva lot. However, before she died, we used to gather as a family, with grandparents and aunts and uncles and friends, around the organ while she played and sang. I remember her singing well, and my grandfather, who had a charming Baritone voice, belting out the Christmas carols with her. I loved those times. I also remember my sister Stacey and I arguing over whose turn it was to play that organ, on other days, and Mom setting a timer for five minutes for us to alternate on it.

11. What "fact" did you learn in school that is not true or no longer true?
 
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That people are born as a blank canvas and are generally warm, nice, kind, sweet, and loving. The first part may very well be true, but nurture causes so many to become exactly the opposite. Okay maybe this is a cop-out, because obviously I didn't learn this in school, but it's a heartbreaking adult discovery, that is for sure.
 

12. What's your favorite piece of useless trivia? 
 
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I don't think any trivia is 'useless' if it's interesting to someone - and it's almost all interesting to me!
 
 

13. What's your best go to homemade "lazy" meal?
 
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I used to make this for myself when I was a poor undergrad, and then graduate student: I call it "Cheesy Pasta Bake." I just mix a bunch of interestingly-shaped pastas together - whatever half-box or quarter-box here and there left over in the pantry - and cook that, then throw it back in the pot with different kinds of cheeses (at least three! It's a rule), a jar or so of sauce, mix it up, then bake it on 350o for about 20-30 minutes until the cheese is melted. The girls and I adore it. The menfolk, meh, not so much.
 

14. What's the title of this current chapter in your life?
 
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"Oh, Boise!" (And LOL! Our church is located in Garden City. It's really not so bad... now, maybe.)

15. What is a habit or practice that you learned from your childhood that you didn't realize was "weird" until you were an adult?
 
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I don't know. Nothing, probably. I'm a highly self-conscious introvert. I know i'm weird. I embrace it now, at 40 years old. Finally!
 
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That was fun! Thanks, Bev. And thank you for stopping by.
 
Fin.

Sunday Stealing: The Ice-Breaker Meme

Here we are again! Link up here if you're playing along today.

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Cheers to all of us thieves!

Sunday Stealing: The Icebreaker Questions

  1. Are you loud, outgoing or shy?

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No, see, I am all the things! It just depends on when, where, and with whom! I'm extremely introverted and shy around people I don't know or have just met, but when I'm completely comfortable and warmed up to you, watch out world! 

  1. What’s coming up where you’ll see an old friend?

 Stacy Uncorked

Coming up: After we move to Idaho, I'm totally going to have a meetup with Stacy from Stacy Uncorked, who lives in the general area! I've read her blog for years, so I'm truly excited. I think she is a kindred spirit... And she is making me wine that she crafted herself! Whee!

Carey and Melanie

Yesterday: I met Carey for the first time, after knowing her online for 13 years!! We both live in South Florida now (neither did when we met) but have kept missing each other at various times. Finally, it was meant to be at the Miami Women's Rally to stand in solidarity with the Women's March on Washington, D.C. (It was pretty epic, by the way. Stay tuned for more on that in a future post.)

  1. Are you easy to get along with?

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Nope. Next!

  1. Have you ever given up on someone, but then gone back to them?

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 Does it count if I'm talking about my father, a Narcissist in the truest sense of the word? (Like the Mango Mussolini we now have in the White House.) I have such a complicated relationship with the man. The older I get, the more I'm able to separate myself from his words and opinions that used to cut me to the core, but every so often he gets a good dig in without even realizing what a dick asshole motherfucker jerk he is to people who are no longer of real use to him. But because I lost my mom as a little girl, I have cut him out of my life only to find I really still needed a parent. Like I said,... complicated.

  1. Who was the last person that you had a deep conversation with?

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This girl!! At 15 years, 4 months old, my daughter Chloë has turned into quite the logistics professor. She can be irrational - who can't? - on the odd occasion, but for the most part, she is great to have a discussion with. It's wonderful that she is turning into a feminist who stands up for herself, I think. We discussed Women and/in Politics.

  1. Are you okay with being in a big crowd?

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 I'd rather be in a big crowd than in front of one, so sure. I do not like the feeling of being trampled or having taller people (which is nearly everyone) looming over me, so I do try to keep some illusion of personal space about me.

  1. Do you believe in luck and/or miracles?

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I guess. I'm feeling a little disheartened right now because of our (the United States') current political landscape, but there is a small spark of hope. I think it will take a miracle to turn this ship around. There are so many hotbutton issues right now that have people arguing, and here I am. I feel like I want to get a bullhorn and shout everywhere, "IT'S THE CLIMATE CHANGE, STUPID!" 

  1. What good thing happened during the summer? (It’s good to think about summer when you are freezing your butt off in January.)

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Technically, it's Winter right now, but we don't seem to acknowledge that here in Miami. This picture is from Thursday, when we went to our community pool. My rheumatologist, who had all but forbidden me from stepping out in the daylight, gave me the go-ahead to walk in the pool close to sundown.  The exercise is necessary and good, the sun doesn't affect me as much then, and the water has been warmed by hour's worth of sunshine. Except... it wasn't. The pool was freezing!! Nonetheless, I got all the way in and even swam three full lengths underwater, despite being grossly out of shape when it comes to my respiration. I was completely worn out throughout the evening and the next day, but I could do that 2-3 times a week and yoga/pilates/meditation 2-3 days a week. How I've missed the water!

(P.S. My son would like you to know that despite her Amazonian height, he is nearly 14 and is the "big" brother to Sophia, aged 11.)

  1. Do you think there is life on other planets?

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I believe it is certainly plausible and yet remains to be seen. Or not!

  1. Who was your first crush on?

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 Dennis Boyce, in 4th and 5th grades. He was a blonde-haired, blue-eyed cutie. He's married a friend of mine now. I haven't seen him, nor really thought about him, in years.

  1. What are your bad habits?

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The mother of all my vices is that I am nothing if not self-indulgent. I'm impatient. I like what I like, I know what I want, and I want it now. It leads to many an argument that starts something like me going, "Today, maybe?" to my husband and him replying, "I did not know you meant right now." I answer, "Have you met me?!" and we're off to the races kids! I'm not proud of it. 

  1. What’s your favorite part of your daily routine?

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Getting the mail! Or a really good e-mail, even. Oh, wait, no - on Mondays thru Fridays, it's watching Jeopardy! with my husband. For over 16 years now, that has been our weeknightly date. We bet on the Final Round and everything. I wonder who's winning...

  1. Other than your significant other, who are you most comfortable with?

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♥ These turdburglars, who allow me to be who I am at all times and still love me at the end! ♥

  1. Has an ex ever told you that they regret breaking up?

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Sure, if i think about it. Not really anything that matters to me now, so I don't think of it.

  1. Why should your celebrity crush drop everything to be with you?

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Look at that beautiful family! Look at mine! He should not.

  1. What would be the hardest to give up and why? Books. TV. Music.

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Music. I grew up with some kind of noise always on, whether it be my three older sisters' boomboxes (hee!) or the perpetual drone of the television. As a result, I am uncomfortable with quietude, so I always have something on for noise. However, when we move, I'm going to make an intentional effort to turn it off for as long as I can each day, or have a separate space far from my computer anyway. It's important, I recently read, for kids to have a quiet space where they can feel comfortable with the noiselessness. I'm on board with that.

  1. Do you believe in second chances?

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Sure. If they are truly remorseful and express that by more than just saying a quick, mumbled "sorry," I'm generally willing to forgive. But I rarely forget.

  1. What would like to do next in your life?

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Successfully move all 13 of us from Miami, Florida to Boise, Idaho! Coming attractions to look for in March 2017, woot! 

  1. What’s the meanest thing that anyone has ever said to you?

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From my father after my "Identical Twin Son 'A," Robby died: "Maybe your body just wasn't put together right to have children."

From dozens upon dozens of people ever since, as though he was the booby prize or maybe Robby would have been: "At least you still have Jack."

A year after that, from a friend I have since forgiven: "When are you going to get over that 'dead baby' thing?"

All were equally devastating, but more cruel than straight-up mean.

  1. What’s the nicest thing that anyone has ever said to you?

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My daughter Chloë, was then 12, told me this: "It's okay, Mom. I understand," sometime in the weeks after my husband's 13-hour surgery to remove a brain tumor. Rob was home from the hospital by then, but he wasn't "back" yet, and it was like raising another - more difficult - child. Plus he was in pain, so I had to work to keep that at bay. And no one was helping me out with the laundry or dishes or any of that, and I just completely lost my shit one day. I excused myself to take a "time-out," and then I called them all in to apologize for my bad behavior. Her words were so kind and needed.

What a refreshing way to end, rather than on the penultimate question! Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.


Saturday 9: Happy Holidays!

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Hey, y'all, link up here if you're playing along this weekend, too!

Saturday 9: Happy Holidays! (from the archives)

*~*~*~*~*~*

1. As you can see, Sam loved giving her annual wish list to Santa. Yet some children are reluctant to climb into Jolly Old St. Nick's lap. Did you enjoy the tradition or were you shy? Or did you by pass it altogether -- either because you wrote him a letter or because your family didn't celebrate Christmas?

I honestly can't remember; I'd have to make something up!

2. Are you currently on the Naughty or Nice list? How did you get there?

Can I be on both? And can I remain mum on both as well? ;)

3. Did you ship any gifts to friends and family this year? If so, which one traveled the farthest?

Gifts, no, but I did mail out about 100 Christmas cards this year, and I would have to say the one that traveled the farthest went to British Columbia, Canada.

4. Did you buy yourself a gift this year?

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Yes! It was about six bucks on Amazon, so a total, y'know, splurge. I bought this essential oil/tart burner, which I simply adore so far. My last one broke, but this one's even mo' bettah!

5. What's your favorite holiday-themed movie?

Well, my favorite Christmas movie of all time is Miracle on 34th Street, but I also love National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Chevy Chase and crew bring the funny!

6. Thinking of movies, Christmas is lucrative for Hollywood. Have you ever gone to a movie theater on Christmas Day?

That used to be a tradition in my non-traditional family growing up. I remember seeing Home Alone on Christmas Day in the theater. But we don't do that now, partly because I strive to do nothing like that family era.

7. Have you ever suffered an embarrassing moment at the company Christmas party?

I have never been to a company Christmas party. I've never been to a Halloween party, either. I've never had a baby shower, and I didn't have a bridal shower. There, now I feel like utter shit, thanks. (I kid, I jest, I josh!)

8. What's your favorite beverage in cold weather?

Mmm, warm apple cider; I wish we had some right now! (Okay, don't hate on me since it's 77º at 2120 on Christmas Day, but I'm always cold. And right now, I'm freezing!!)

9. Share a memory from last Christmas.

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This is Rob (aka "Hubs") ca. Christmas 2000, the year we met.

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This is Rob last year, when he was all bloated from the side-effects of his brain surgery medications and, to cap off that awesome look, his regular glasses broke. He was stuck wearing these jerry-rigged goggle-looking things, which cracked me up at the time and also made me feel sad for him.

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And this is Hubs this year, feeling a lot more like himself again. Looking good, Babe!

*~*~*~*~*~*

Thanks for stopping by! Have a lovely, happy, merry, joyous rest of 2015!

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: Swiped Meme

 

Link up here if you're swiping today!

Swiped Meme

Stolen from: Get It All Down

Do you need to write down things to remember them?

 

Abso-freaking-lutely! If it doesn't get written down, it doesn't get done.

Do you keep a diary/journal?

You're looking at it, Sweetheart!

Are you scared of thunderstorms?

Not since I was about six. Now, I love them. Unless the power goes out for six days. That, not a fan.

Do you have any unusual fears or phobias?

 

You're looking at my absolute worst nightmare. If mustard touches me, If freak out. If it were all over me, like this, ohhhh hell naw.

Whats your favourite Disney movie?

 

Finding Nemo, of course! And yes, I did just go to Kohl's and get a Dory stuffy for my bed, because like I recently mentioned, she is so me! And she shall be my squishy.

Have you ever painted a house?

 

The outside? No. But I had painted the interior walls of our Virginia Beach house every color of the rainbow. Except puce and chartreuse. It's driving me insane living in a box with white walls right now, y'all.

What's the tallest tree you've ever climbed?

I used to climb the tree in our front yard in Monroe, NY, until we moved when I was six. At the time, it seemed huge... now, I'm not so sure it was much bigger than a stick. Who knows?

Do you always wear identical socks?

 

Dudes. I can count on zero fingers the number of times I've worn socks at all in the past year. I live for being barefoot!

Do you live by any motto or philosophy?

 

My motto has long been: "If you want something done right the first time, you've got to do it yourself." 

Do you lick the yogurt or dessert lid?

 

Of course! Isn't that the best part?!

Do you lick the spoon clean after making something sweet?

Before children, of course. After children, I have to divvy up the spoon, the beater, and the bowl amongst the three of them!

Have you ever played the bongos?

 

On Halloween 2000, the night before we "met" online, Hubs went as a bongo-playing beatnik to a costume party. We still have those bongos. I, of course, have played them (however badly) on numerous occasions. They are now adorned with artwork from our youngest child, Sophia, who has came out of the womb wielding crayons...

Have you ever handled a snake?

 

When my sister was 16, she was emancipated, and she lived with her future husband - and Jade, a Florida King snake. I used to hold Jade and let her wriggle and writhe all over me. I was 15 and probably held her until I graduated at 17. I don't think I've held a snake since then...

Have you ever assembled furniture by yourself?

I have, even IKEA furniture. When Hubs was in the hospital one of the first times with his brain tumor, we had the kids up in Fort Lauderdale with friends for the extended visit. One night, I went all gung-ho and built the girls' dressers myself. It took ALL night, but I got it done. Woot!

When did you last go to the beach?

I was in Key West on Wednesday with the family. All Sophia (our artistic youngest child) wanted to do was wade in the water. We ate dinner - and yes, I had a rather large and delicious piña colada - shopped for towels since we hadn't brought any, and walked around endlessly to look for our cars after NOT wading in the water. I think she is still holding a grudge. We'll go back to Key West in the next week or two. Need anything? Gal??

When if ever did you last go to London?

 

The last time I was in London was in a previous life, I guess. It's still sitting on my bucket list. I'll get there. Ain't dead yet!

What do you do to cool down when it's hot?

 

Listen. I'm probably the only idiot in Miami who needs a heating pad. Too hot? You must be crazy. (My gastric bypass surgery took away my ability to regulate my body temperature. It's a curse my family must live with. MWAHAHAHA...)

What's the most unusual thing you've ever eaten?

Probably sea urchin sushi, which I highly do NOT recommend. I nearly barfed.

Do you have a favorite mug?

 

This is my mug, and I love it. Meh.

Do you know any self-defense or martial arts?

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Not really. When we were in high school, we learned the bare minimum of self-defense, which consisted of "Grab, Twist and Pull" the testicles of any male attacker. That's pretty much all I got out of it, anyway. I've never used it...

Who's your favorite movie action hero?

 

Lately it's Iron Man. I'm not really an action movie type of girl, but let's face it: Robert Downey, Jr. is HOT.

Have you ever ridden a motorcycle?

 

I've ridden on the back of the bike with my uncle (scary on purpose) and my husband (scary NOT on purpose). I'm not a huge fan of either, but I'm too chicken to learn to drive one myself.

Do you collect anything?

 

I collect shot glasses. I just had to buy my third case. And yes, I have actually used a few of them, once or twice...

Is there anything you wish would come back into fashion?

 

I don't know or care much about fashion. I wear what I like.

Do you stick to conventional fashions or like to try and be original?

 

Like I just said... I wear what I like. Haters be damned. :P 

Have you ever given someone a handmade present?

I have. Sometimes you win some, sometimes you don't. Meh.

If you could have any feature from an animal what would you want?

 
 
Wings. I want freakin' wings. I want to fly. Someday... if it's the last thing I do...! ;)
 
Thanks for stopping by, y'all.
 
Fin.

Friday Fragments: Episode 5.8.15

Half-Past Kissin' Time
 
 
♫ "Another day, another dollar, another war, another tower went up where the homeless had their homes..." ♫ 
 
Oh, hi, there! Sorry, I guess a little Jewel needed to bust out of me instead of what I meant to write. That ever happen to you?
 
Anyway, here we are at Friday again. TGIF! Though, when you are a stay-at-homeschooling mom of a retired husband, all the days kinda blend together, and it doesn't make a lick of difference much whether it's Tuesday or Saturday. At least some weeks. And this is one of those weeks.
 
(Oh, look, it would appear I'm in full-on babble mode today...awesome.)
 
Link up here with Mrs. 4444 if you're fragmented today, folks. If not, just leave a comment so I know you were here. I comments!
 
 
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So, this sucks, and I haaaaate even writing about it, but I'm gonna anyway: Our van was towed away in the middle of the night yesterday. I am not sure where it is or why it got towed, but I suspect being behind on the payments by a couple of months is to blame. Heh. (It's not entirely my fault. Our bank account is messed up, like, permanently, and our online bill payment function is currently disabled. I tried to pay the bill, but I was unsuccessful.) Instead of staying on top of it, though, I put it in my "I'll get to that...later" file, and later never came. So I do take most of the blame. 
 
Either way, it completely sucks butt, and I am terribly disappointed right now. I'm going to get Miranda (the van) back, but it might be a couple of weeks. In the meantime, I tried to rent a car yesterday, and let's just say that was a big FAIL. I'm trying again today. Oh, and Enterprise? You are dead to me.
 
 
I can't get this post off italics, and it's driving me crazy. Try to ignore it.
 
 
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While we were waiting for our new couch to arrive - our last one bit the dust utterly and completely - the girls broke out my old college Organic Chemistry model set and started building molecules. My oldest kid, Chloë (in the purple, on the left), actually said to me, "Mom, I wish you hadn't lost the book. I want to learn more!" About Orgo, people. 
 
I love that. LOVE. (And not just 'cause I have a minor in Chemistry...)
 
 
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There was much cheering and joy happening in Casa de Odette when the couch of newness was delivered. We were sick of sitting on a mattress on the floor, y'all. I had three criteria: No leather (being pescetarian, it wouldn't do), easy to clean, and cheap-but-nice.
 
Welp, two out of three will have to do, because it's a leather blend. It was on sale, the price was right, and hey, we needed a damn couch. We aren't Moroccan, after all. Floor pillows are cool... for like, a day. After that, it just hurts your tushy.
 
(And yes, it's I-hate-it beige, but I figured that would be more easy to accessorize than the University of Miami-orange I very nearly chose instead of this one. I mean, we didn't *all* go to UM, after all. Sad to say.)
 
 
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Remind me to tell you how "Turnt Up!" became my catchphrase for a night, last year. That's a post for another day. I'd get turnt up just talking about it, right now!
 
Anyway, I did a mystery shop this week at a national retailer's local outlet, and when I spotted this shot glass, I knew it would have to be what I made for my required purchase item. I have an extensive shot glass collection, I'm turnt up all the dang time, and here she is at home. What a beaut!
 
 
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Pepper, our Maine Coon kitteh-kitteh-cat, has grown quite large of late. At 2.5 years old, he still has some growing to do (this breed is considered full-grown at about three years of age), but man! He is, as Jack says, "one large cat."
 
To remind you, this was Pepper when we found him wandering the middle of the road in October of 2012:
 
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He'd just had a bath, obviously, because he was ravaged with fleas and nearly died from flea anemia. We thought he'd be sickly for life. Boy, were we wrong! He is quite healthy now, strong as an ox! I bet he's pushing 15 pounds. And still room to grow...? Oof!
 
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In other kitty news, Sophie's kitten, Sugarplum, is adjusting to life without her littermate, Spike. Pepper has taken to her, and he bathes and snuggles with her. It's quite sweet.
 
 
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This is my home pharmacy right now. Kind of ridiculous. What's even more so is that I have all these meds at my disposal, and I'm in pretty much near-constant pain. My entire skeleton throbs and aches, 24/7. It sucks. I'm resigned to the fact that yet another thing is wrong with me, and I'm pretty sure it's an autoimmune issue. Once Hubs is done with the daily in-home nursing care, and his surgery wound is all healed up, I'm going to make an appointment to get a referral to a rheumatologist. What's the opposite of thrilled? That's what I am.
 
 
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To kind of have a chill evening, after the stress of Miranda being "stolen" from us, Chloë and I walked to Publix nearby and rented a couple of movies. The girls didn't last through the end of The Book of Life (which has an awesome soundtrack, by the by), and Jack was passed out there on the floor well before the end of The Boxtrolls. We opted to turn it off and finish watching it another time, when they're, y'know, awake and stuff.
 
 
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I would be remiss if I let the month go by without mentioning that May is Brain Tumor Awareness Month. Since Hubs' cerebellar cavernous hemangioma and the subsequent craniotomy to remove it - and bits of surrounding, healthy brain tissue along with it - in February 2015 have set the tone for the past two years, I've made this my Facebook profile pic for the remainder of the month.
 
Go Gray for May! #BTAM
 
 
Back to the Roots - Product Specifications
 
So this week was not without some good - no, really, really great - news. A random post on a blog I read mentioned that this organic mushroom farm by the spectacular company Back to the Roots (which was new to me at the time) was on sale on Amazon. Since environmentalistm, local/organic/sustainable eating and living are big passions for me and somewhat for the rest of Team Odette, I did some poking around on their website.
 
Long story short, they were looking for Regional Brand Ambassadors for diferent parts of the country, with Florida as its own "region" on the list. They asked for résumés and cover letters from interested applicants. I bucked the trend and just shot them an email instead, with all of my reasons for why I'd be great as their Florida RBA.
 
Well, days went by. Then weeks. And then, almost a month later, this week, I received an email back, stating that I sounded absolutely PERFECT to represent Back to the Roots for Florida. I don't want to jump the gun and congratulate myself just yet, since they'll be talking to me more when they expand into Florida this summer, but I was crazy excited when I got that message! Woot woot!!!
 
 
And that,  my friends, is that for this week. Have a lovely!
 
Fin.

Friday Fragments: Episode 4.17.15

Half-Past Kissin' Time

I haven't fragmented in a dog's age, but I felt like a brain dump was necessary, so here I am! These posts are for the purpose of shaking out all that loose change rattling around in our brains that isn't big enough for a whole post. Link up here with Mrs. 4444 if you're fragmentin' today!

Mike & Gail

First and most importantly, I'd like to give some birthday shout-outs to some very important people in the lives of Team Odette! Above are Hubs' twin brother and sister, Mike and Gail, who turned the big 5-0 on Thursday (yesterday). Happy half-century, you two!

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Also, my big sister Stacey Jean is turning the big 4-0 tomorrow, April 18th! WOW, huge milestone years for all of the siblings! Happy fourth decade, Sis; I you so much!

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When Rob (Hubs) was in the hospital for eight days, I did my best to give the kids a decent passing time for that period. I had free tickets to go to the movies, so we went to see Home, which they had been talking about for a while.

All three of them agreed that it was better than Big Hero 6, but I greatly disagreed with that assessment, since I loved the Disney flick. I could have waited easily for it to come out on DVD, and the only thing that tickled me were the running gags about "My Mom..." and "going Number Three." Other than that, big fat "MEH" from me!

Have you seen it, and if so, with whom do you agree?

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This was the afternoon I sprung Rob from "The Clink," a.k.a. the hospital where he was staying through the beginning of April. I had brought plenty of treats to the hospital ward for the other patients, including four dozen Krispy Kreme donuts, dozens of magazines of all kinds of genres, and a huge batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies, and this pleased me greatly to do. However, nothing made me happier than this moment, when he was released to me to come home. I lurve this guy!

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Partially to celebrate Rob's homecoming, we went to the Miami Youth Fair that evening. Ohmagosh, it was hot!! I rented him a wheelchair, since he was feeling pretty dizzy (and, secret? that helps carry the bags we collect along the way, too). Here are the girls in our ticket redemption line. I do have to say, I think they look so cute in their glasses!

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Of course, when you visit the fair, you are required to eat fair food, right? My obligatory fair food is cheesy fries with excessive amounts of vinegar and, I must confess, among the five of us we shared about three large orders that day! Jack, however, is our carnivorous kid (the girls have all but sworn off the meat-eating through no attempt of mine to have them do so), so he was all about getting a turkey leg.

We laughed so hard at the enormosity (that's a word, right?) of the turkey legs at the fair compared to his diminutive size. He put quite a pretty good dent in it, too, before Daddy had to take over!

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Soft-serve ice cream... yet another food from the fair in which one must indulge. I mean, c'mon. It's the fair. You're not getting a salad, people.

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We mostly walked around and looked at exhibits, ate, rode rides and... played games. Wait, that's kind of a 'duh,' because that is what the fair is, after all. 

Anyway, I spent entirely too much money on games, because Sophie decided she had to win this "hippocorn," as Rob calls it, for her dad. She's a sweet kid, that girl.

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Poor Jack has had a time of it lately. Between an awful dentist visit (we have known for years he has bad teeth, so this was not a surprise) and a subsequent visit to the Miami Children's Hospital Emergency Department, plenty of work was determined to be needing done. But none has been done. Our dental bills, for the five of us, are going to be astronomical. And we are triple-insured for this. SUCKAGE, y'all.

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Speaking of Jack emergencies, he tripped over a rope his younger sister had tied to the bucket he wanted to use for making bubble wand mix the other day, and he landed smack on his cheekbone on the edge of the bucket.

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His cheek swelled up enormously and turned black in seconds. This was on Sophie's 10th birthday, this past Monday, so quite an unfortunate accident indeed. I delivered him and his dad to the local ED for X-rays and Ibuprofen, and it was determined that nothing was broken. Phew! That poor cheek has turned 57 shades of ugly since then, though!

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Rob and I went out to downtown Miami and South Beach for a fun date night a couple nights later, and that was a much needed reprieve from the stresses of previous weeks. At the one restaurant we visited, our bartendress was quite moronical. She did not know how to make anything normal. Holy cow. I'm glad Rob didn't decide to blow her mind by ordering his usual favorite stumper, a Colorado Bulldog!

In the end, I ordered this, a "No. 8," which was quite good with its raspberry-mint essence. I liked it, though I'm not a fan of mojitos or any other minty beverage. Seriously, though... as Rob pointed out, she wasn't there for her brains (quite a hottie, she was)!

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At that same restaurant, our food and table service were exquisite. We had this Bufala Mozzarella deliciousness that included pine nuts, pomegranate arils, and some kind of sweet hazelnut mashy thing that we quite liked.

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My scallop dinner was delectable, but unreasonably priced: I paid $36 for this plate and received three not-even-that-large scallops. Do the math. If I wasn't being reimbursed for this meal, I would have passed out!

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On the other hand, our dessert was quite creative and simply amazing: a creamy topped Monkeybread concoction. What? Monkeybread?! How unusual. I loved the idea of that being on the menu at a fancy restaurant nearly as much as the dish itself. Would you order it?

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After all that food, it was such a tragedy that we still had to get some FroYo for another shop, but we went through with the horrible disaster. I didn't eat any and gave the whole thing to my bottomless pit husband. Apparently this brand, which we were experiencing for the first time compared to Menchie's and Sweet Frog, tasted a lot more like actual yogurt than, you know, ice cream? I can't say personally, though I think I might actually have liked that.

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And last but definitely not least, I came up with idea for instituting a Swear Jar all on my own, since I have a HA-rrible (as I pronounce it, being from New York) potty mouth. No one forced me; I brought this upon myself. I bought a set of large mason jars - because I couldn't seem to get just one - and we hot-glued the lid shut so I couldn't break into it for emergency gas/Diet Coke/what-have-you funds.

Um. Yeah. Bad idea. The kids are making bank off me. That jar is now full to capacity after a mere three or four days, and we have to start a new one. Most of that money is from me. The kids also have to throw in a quarter (it's 25¢ per swearing offense, as well) for saying "Shut up!" or calling each other "stupid," "idiot," or such things, but unlike me, they seem to have learned their lessons quite quickly.

At this rate, we'll have the down payment for a live-aboard boat in no time. Oy vey...

Welp, I think that's enough of a brain-dump for me this week. Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.

P.S. Here's a gratuitous cute picture of Spike, Rob's new kitten, having a nosh:

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Saturday 9: Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

Welp, I'm starting 22 minutes after the day has officially ended, but that seems to be about par for the course for me, eh? Here we go anyway. Link up here if you're late, too.

Saturday 9: Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? (1970)

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

1) This song asks, "Does anybody really care about time?" How about you? Do you pride yourself on being punctual? Or don't you really care?

I hate being late, but it's not uncommon for me to be late. It's a conundrum for me, especially as an OCD-havin' perfectionist type. Bah.
  
2) The lyrics refer to a stranger asking the time. When is the last time you conversed with someone you didn't really know? What did you two talk about?

I spent from 3 AM to after 12 PM today in the Emergency Department of the local hospital with yet another ruptured ovarian cyst that had me crying in pain. My male nurse, who came on shift around 0700, and I hit it right off. I learned a lot about his life, the last 20 years of which he's spent in the States after moving here from London, England. We talked about our travels, our backgrounds, and pasts and futures. I guess he didn't have many patients aside from me? Nice guy, though.

3) According to the Top 40 tracker Tunecaster, this song knocked Tony Orlando and Dawn's "Knock Three Times" out of the #1 spot on the charts in January 1971. Are you familiar with "Knock Three Times?"

Yes, because it was on our jukebox growing up. We had one, a real old-fashioned one, in our dance-floor basement in Syracuse. "Knock Three Times" was actually one of my favorites.

4) Chicago is not only the name of the group but also of the midwest's largest city. Chicago is the proud hometown of such luminaries as Bill Murray, Michelle Obama and Derrick Rose. Does your town have any favorite sons or daughters? 

I live in Miami, home of countless famosos. Many of them, unsurprisingly, speak Spanish. ;) Google it. 

5) The group Chicago was originally known as The Chicago Transit Authority, after the city's public transportation system. When is the last time you were on a bus or a train?

About a year ago or so, Chloë (my then-12yo daughter) and I took a big red tour bus all over downtown Miami, Coral Gables, Miami Beach, and Little Havana. We did it for a mystery shop. It was loads of fun!

6) Four of the original seven band members are still with the group … after 48 years! What's the longest you stayed at the same job?

If being a stay-home mama counts, fourteen years is my max.

7) Lead singer Rob Lamm confessed that, at times, being in a band has been hard for him because he is by nature a loner. How about you? Are you more introverted or extroverted?

I'm definitely introverted, but I think lately I have come out of my shell more. Maybe it has something to do with aging, or maybe I'm just forcing myself to do it and break out of my comfort zone, but I've been learning a lot about people with whom I might barely interact lately. I'm enjoying it, too!

8) This summer, Chicago will be touring with Earth, Wind and Fire. Have you seen/will you attend any concerts in 2015?

I'm taking Chloë to her very first major concert around Halloween: Taylor Swift's 1989 tour! She is super excited, and I have to confess, I can't wait!

 9) Random question: What's the last mess you cleaned up?

We were at the point of washing a dish just to dirty it right up again, as all our dishes and silverware and pots and pans were used up while Hubs spent his eight days in the hospital. It took me a day or two (since our dishwasher is on the fritz), but I got them done. And now they're halfway to the same stage again, ugh!

Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.


Team Odette Visits @LEGOLANDFlorida Resort

Disclosure: I received five free passes to LEGOLAND® Florida Resort and LEGOLAND Waterpark in exchange for this post. As always, all opinions are my own.

WINTER HAVEN, FLORIDA -- LEGOLAND® Florida celebrates the launch of the first-ever, full length theatrical LEGO® adventure, “The LEGO® MovieTM”, with a movie-themed weekend in the park on Feb. 8 and 9, 2014. Guests can head to their local theatre to watch “The LEGO Movie,” opening nationwide on Friday, February 7, 2014, and then come to LEGOLAND Florida to see LEGO come to life amidst more than 50 rides, shows and attractions and special movie-themed fun all geared for families with children ages 2 to 12. (PHOTO / LEGOLAND Florida, Merlin Entertainments Group, Chip Litherland)

Jack turned 12 (TWELVE?!!) on March 22nd, so for his birthday, we took him to LEGOLAND® Florida in Winter Haven, just about four hours north of our home in Miami.

WARNING: THIS IS A PICTURE-HEAVY POST, BECAUSE THIS TRIP WAS AWESOME. EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!! ;)

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Jack, who is absolutely crazy about all things LEGO® City and who has been asking to go to LEGOLAND® Florida for the entirety of the two years since we moved to this state (okay, actually longer than that, but incessantly for that timeframe), was the first chap out of the car when we finally arrived about noon on Tuesday.

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The girls, who wanted to visit the waterpark area toward the back of the main resort first, insisted on changing into their bathing suits right there in the parking lot. Jack was impatient to GET GOING ALREADY and huffed and puffed the whole time!

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Sophie, the little sweetie pie, tied Daddy's shoes when he couldn't do it on our way up to the entrance. Rob had a really rough day that day and, in fact, ended up back in the hospital the following day. He's still there and will be there for at least a few more days, but possibly much longer. I really don't know at this point.

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Can you tell these kids were super excited to get into the the park? LEGOLAND® Florida Resort is an interactive theme park where LEGO® comes to life and kids take control. It is a 150-acre multi-day destination offering more than 50 rides, shows and attractions designed for families with children ages 2-12.

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Just as soon as we could, I got into the entrance, made a sharp left and rented a wheelchair for Rob. Thanks to issues with his cerebellar cavernous hemangioma, Cyberknife radiation surgery, and craniotomy to remove the tumor and surrounding cerebellar tissue, his recovery and progress has been one step forward, two steps back, two steps forward, one step back, and so on. Right now, we're looking forward but moving backward, so... a wheelchair was necessary.

Fortunately, the LEGOLAND® team members were awesome. They let me park Rob, Chloë, and Jack outside the entrance whilst Sophie and I fetched the chair, and a team member came out with us to wheel him back in and breeze us through the check-in point. The resort is very accessible, and the only problems I had getting him around were a few hilly areas where inertia had us going faster (or slower) than I would have liked. Other than that, it was easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.

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We found lots of really cool structures built out of regular-sized LEGO® bricks, in front of which the kids wanted to pose. Naturally, my Nikon and I were ready and willing to point, aim, shoot! The models in LEGOLAND Florida are made up of more than 58 million LEGO bricks! I want to know, who counted?!

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Our first stop, once inside, was the marketplace in The Beginning. Jack had birthday money from both of his grandpas to spend, and of course he wanted to spend it here. Sophia and Chloë adore LEGO Friends®, so the girls had no problems stopping to shop and look around, themselves. Sophie looks so cute posing here, no?

Heartlake City

 

We'll have to come back this summer, because the girls will love when Heartlake City opens at the resort!

 All the kids really wanted to stay at the LEGOLAND Hotel, but it doesn't open in Florida until May 15th, so we'll have to do that, too, when we go back for another visit. I can't wait! 

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Jack was excited, and a bit overwhelmed, by all the LEGO City choices. He didn't know where to start!

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Jack just about gave up on choosing, before a nice store team member came over to help him decide. I'll show you what he selected later in the post...

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 One of many photo ops in the park, of which we had to take advantage

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Kinda like at the Disney Parks, kids can trade LEGO Minifigures with Model Citizens (aka LEGOLAND Employees, who sport them on their name badges). Jack wasn't interested, saying to me, "I keep all mine, Moooom," but the girls were all about it!

Unfortunately, we forgot to bring them, so I bought both girls a four-pack for $14.99 apiece in The BIG Shop in The Beginning. I told them to buy sets they didn't care about, since they likely wouldn't be coming home with those minifigs! Chloë chose a LEGO Chima Pack.

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Because Sophia chose a LEGO City minifigure pack, Jack took it upon himself to help her set up the four figures. She was happy to let him, maybe because we were there celebrating his birthday, or maybe just because she actually loves the little twerp? I dunno.

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At The Grand Carousel in Fun Town, just past The Beginning, we found arrows pointing every which way and took the direction for the Waterpark. Y'know, I personally love riding a beautiful carousel such as this double-decker, but the kids didn't want to waste precious daylight, so we skipped it and never got back to it. Rats!

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The lady-babies thought this "old lady in curlers" watering her flowers was amusing, so they "forced" me to snap a picture of her. So much to see at LEGOLAND Florida!

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We bumped right on past Fun Town and on into Miniland USA on our way to the Waterpark. The heart of every LEGOLAND Park, Miniland USA is home to seven specially themed areas. Jack, especially, but all the kids were like, "WOOOOOWWWWWW!" when they first saw it. We spent a bit of time at the beginning of our visit on one side, and a bit more time at the end of the day exploring the other side. 

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Jack, of course, headed to the track first to watch the mini-races some other kids were actually playing! Miniland USA was pretty cool, you guys.

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Of course, it didn't surprise me when Jack found himself at the NASA section of Miniland USA, nor when he stayed a while... he's fascinated by such things. I really need to get him up to Cape Canaveral to watch a launch!

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Las Vegas was representin', as you can see. More on that in a bit!

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The girls found Manhattan a treat, and they loved that the Statue of Liberty was front and center!

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Treasure Island in Las Vegas, where Chloë was fascinated to learned I've actually stayed, once upon a time. "Did you see all this, out front, and watch the pirates fighting on the ships and everything?" Yep, kiddo. I sure did.

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Jack insisted I take a picture of the Space Needle, another fascination of us.

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After Miniland USA, the girls were able to complete their first Minifigure swaps. How fun that was! The Model Citizens were always happy to oblige.

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Chloë's turn: This Model Citizen happened to have more than one LEGO Minifigure on his name badge, but some only have one - and some have none. Just in case you're going and your Littles want to swap, too, you'll know. ;)

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Walking along, past Miniland USA, we found this really cool replica of Earth, with minifigures of various world-renowned iconic places represented all over it. Jack and the girls ran around the whole thing, calling out everything they spotted. It was pretty cool.

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One of the kiddos insisted I take a picture of the whales somewhere in the South Pacific, I think. Cool, huh?!

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Another fun photo-op

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Natch, I had to snap a pic of the LEGO Einstein in Imagination Zone. I mean, really.

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This LEGO giraffe peeked out of the other side of Imagination Zone's entrance. Sophie went up for a touch!

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Before we arrived at the Waterpark, we found ourselves in LEGO City. Of course, that being Jack's favorite thing on the planet, we had to go! The first thing we did was get in line for the very fun Rescue Academy ride, and the first thing the girls did was conduct Minifigure swaps. Sophie went first.

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... and Chloë swapped with the Model Citizen who talked them through the rescue operation. He was fun.

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Jack chose the police car for their Rescue Academy operation. Small surprise there!

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A wasp flew by just before the rescue was set to begin, so Jack jumped out of the police car, terrified as he is of things that sting, and refused to go back. No worries! This Model Citizen stepped up to help the girls get moving!

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Team Odettelettes to the rescue! They're on the far left, but I couldn't get close enough for you to be able to see them. Just pretend. They're there, I promise.

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Midway back to the beginning of the adventure, Chloë stopped for a pose. That girl loves the lens, I tell ya!

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Across from Rescue Academy was Ford Jr. Driving School, and inside the shop there was a Model Citizen willing to swap Minifigures with Chloë. As you can see, she was smiling. All the Model Citizens were smiling. Not one grumpy Model Citizen in the whole resort. What a pleasant experience we had because of them!

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Both girls examining their new Minifigures, post-swap

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As you can see, lots more swaps happened in the park until the bitter end! The girls loved it, and they had fun each and every time they swapped.

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At last, we made it to the Water Park! Admission is an extra $15 normally, I think, but we had our free passes and got right in, no problem. Rob had opted not to swim that day, and wanting to stay with him in his wheelchair, I opted out, too. The kids headed straight for Build-a-Raft, which as you'll see in a moment, was cool because there were foam LEGO bricks that could be built right ON the raft. Neato-mosquito, eh?!

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The kiddos picked up their brick-laden tubes and headed for the lazy river's entrance.

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Loose LEGO bricks floated in the lazy river, for kids to snatch up and add to their tubes. So cool.

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While the kids were in the river, I parked Rob in his wheelchair nearby and visited the Beach-n-Brick Grill. I purchased a kids' chicken tender meal with fries, applesauce squeezy thingy, and a chocolate milk for Jack, a grape Uncrustables sandwich meal for Sophia, and nachos and a chocolate milk for Chloë. Jack had a pretzel and cheese, too, since Daddy ate both the chicken tenders AND the sandwich! He hadn't had much of an appetite for days, so I was just glad he ate, but LOL...

(True confessions: I ate half the fries, myself. Hey, the kids just wanted to swim, anyway!)

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The jellies hanging from the inside roof of the Grill were among my favorite LEGO brick structures in the whole entire resort! Guess the marine biologist in me is not dead, after all.

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This girl. Sophia, not for the first time, disappeared on me. I could watch the Build-A-Raft Lazy River from the Grill table where I was sitting with Daddy, but only Jack and Chloë came out after the roughly 8-minute tour around the Water Park. Well, after two, then three, turns around the River, and still no Sophie, I got nervous.

I went over to a Model Citizen lifeguarding the DUPLO Splash Safari directly in front of me and said, "I can't find my daughter." TWEEEEEEET!!! He immediately blew hard on his whistle, and said another Model Citizen would come right over to help me out.

I don't remember his name, but the MC who came over was right on cue fewer than 10 seconds later. He took Sophia's name, last-seen location, age, physical description, and what she was wearing, and then walked me over to park ourselves on the bridge overlooking Lazy River. He talked Sophia's description into the Walkie-Talkie, and we waited.

And waited.

And while we waited, we watched out for Sophie in the river. And then, boom, my expertly-spotting Model Citizen friend pointed at a child coming down to the ride's Exit. BOOM! That was her! I screamed, "That's her! Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you!" as I ran away, toward my girl. 

Sophia walked up to me, out of the lazy river, saying brightly with a broad smile on her face, "HI, MOM!" Um. Okay. Dude. Heart attack city here! We hugged, I admonished her for not checking in like she was supposed to and not staying with her siblings like she was supposed to and for giving me a heart attack, hugged her again, and then brought her over to the table for a bite to eat. She managed one bite of Uncrustables before grabbing Jack and Chloë out of the DUPLO Splash Safari and heading for the Wave Pool.

Le sigh. That's life with Sophie.

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There's life vest-adorned Jack in the red shorts, heading into the LEGO Lazy River, where his sisters were already waiting for him...somewhere. Thankfully, we brought along plenty of sunscreen. Despite the overcast and sometimes-rainy drive up, the day turned hot, sunny, and beautiful once we were in the Water Park. As my mama-in-law says, "It's a God thing."

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Stopping to pick out and adjust their life vests. All of them can swim now, but perhaps they wanted a little help floating in the Wave Pool?

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[Click to embiggerate] Lots of fun was had in the Wave Pool. We stayed there nearly an hour, I think!

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Chloë took a break from the wave pool to steal her nachos back from Daddy, who was still eating, and to wonder, "Mom, why are you taking my picture while I'm eating?" Because, my love, it's what I do.

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Somewhere in there, the Joker Soaker, were my children after they finished playing in the Wave Pool. Again, take my word for it, 'cause I didn't go in enough to find them and photograph them. Jack loved the big bucket, which he likened to the one at Williamsburg's Great Wolf Lodge. (Maybe all the GWLs have them, but we've only been to that one!)

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Jack got tired of playing in the water and, while he was waiting for his sisters to finish playing in the Water Park and get back to the main LEGOLAND Florida Resort, wanted to look at his new LEGO City sets he'd purchased in The Beginning. But first, I made him show me his muscles. Because, why not?!

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With his birthday money, Jack chose not one but two sets The first one was set #60057, the LEGO City Camper Van.

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Set number two was #60012 LEGO City 4X4 & Diving Boat.

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He didn't want to build the sets yet, and risk losing a piece at the park, but he wanted to look at them and admire the accompanying stickers. This boy loooooves his LEGO City!

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Jack thought the canoe in this first set was super cool. I had to agree. It's ONE brick!

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The bitty boy decided to twirl Daddy's cane after he finished looking at his new LEGO City sets and before the girls came over to get back to more fun outside the Water Park. Pretty good at it, too!

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When we were leaving the Water Park, the girls did another Minifigure Swap. This little boy walked up and wanted to swap with the Model Citizen, too, but he didn't have a Minifigure to swap. I explained about it quickly to the dad, and Chloë decided to bequeath one of her Minis to the little boy so he could swap. It made my day!

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And thus, the boy completed his first LEGO Minifigure Swap with a Model Citizen. Everything is awesome!

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We went back out of the Water Park to LEGO City, and Jack and his sisters made a beeline for the Ford Jr. Driving School. Inside, in the waiting line, there was a stop-and-play area where Sophia quickly hopped in to rearrange the DUPLO Bricks already there.

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Inside, the kids learned about the "Stop" and "Go" pedals in their cars, as well as various traffic signals and signs. And then, it was time to drive!

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[Click to embiggerate] Driving School was so fun! Chloë ran a YIELD sign, and got embarrassed when I pointed it out (oops), but other than that, it was smooth sailing for all the new drivers out there. This was a much-loved activity by all.

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The kids posed with their new "Driver Licenses," which was a fun touch. For about $15, one could purchase a real copy with their pictures on it, but I had to decline that expenditure.

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Sophia stopping for a Photo Op on her way to another ride - this time, the roller coaster she sought since The Beginning! Jack and Chloë were too chicken to go, so they decided on a different ride.

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At Boating School, Jack drove their dinghy while Chloë, you know, posed.

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The day turned hot, so Jack and Chloë visited one of the misters while we were off in search of rollercoastering Sophie.

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The two of them also tried their luck at this "Extreme" knock-em-down ball game, four plays for $10. Chloë managed to knock one down, but you had to get two, so they didn't win prizes there. Wah.

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By this point, we were in LEGO Technic, the most extreme area of LEGOLAND Florida. Sophia came off the Project X racetrack roller coaster after about three rides in a row, and she went off with her sister on yet another ride there. I parked Jack with Daddy and went off to the Robot Pit Stop for ice cream.

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The girls had great fun on the AQUAZONE Wave Racers, dodging in and out of waves - but be forewarned! Passers-by can get quite soaked if they come too close! ;)

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Chloë chose this patriotic Popsicle for her treat. Yummo!

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Still in LEGO Technic, the girls rode on the Technicycle while Jack waited with Daddy. He was starting to get worn out, I think, and frustrated. He didn't want to go to the toddler zone, DUPLO Valley, because, "That's for babies!" He didn't want to go on anything else either, though, because, "I don't want to get wet. The line is too long. I don't like going up in the air. It goes too fast." Yadda yadda yadda. Time for a break for the birthday kid.

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Sophia's turn to play a game: this time, a guaranteed-win game. The object was to pick up something like four ducks and whatever numbers they had on the bottom were added up to equal different prize levels. Sophia misunderstood and tried picking up ALL THE DUCKS at once. Hahaha!! Oopsss... #FAIL

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Jack wasn't thrilled that Sophie won enough for a prize for each of them, keeping the pink snake for herself, giving him a green one and Chloë the unicorn, but whatevs. Can't please him ALL the time, after all, and I'm used to his grumpy nature.

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Bye-bye, LEGO City and LEGO Technic! Time for more adventures ahead.

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Of course, you may know we collect pressed pennies when able, so Jack was delighted when we found this machine outside Land of Adventure's Coastersaurus, where the girls went. YES! Sophia convinced Chloë to go on a real, honest-to-goodness roller coaster. I could NOT believe she went and figured she would either back out or come back out screaming and crying.

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You can almost but not quite see them at the back, whizzing by me.

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But look. LOOK AT THIS PICTURE. Does that look like a girl who did NOT have fun with Sophia? NOOOOOO. Chloë, in red, came off exclaiming, "That was FUN! I want to go again!" and she did! I can scarcely believe that happened. I am still so, so proud of her!

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By this point, Jack was in full-on pout mode. I had told everyone that our goal for the day was to make him smile, laugh, and admit he'd had a good time. Uh-oh. Fun was definitely had, and you've already seen the photographic evidence of that, but I was losing this battle. Trust me, it's not LEGOLAND's fault. This boy chooses to be grumpy. Life is not fair. Life is hard. He sees the glass as half-empty. My mission in life, where he is concerned, is to fill up that glass!

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The girls, on the other hand, refused to not have fun, despite grumpy Jack's mood. So they continued onward, going on the Safari Trek in Land of Adventure.

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Okay, they went on Safari Trek twice. Jack scoffed. Meh.

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These LEGO parrot figures actually talked to us! They did NOT want crackers, they told us. Ha!

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While the girls went back for their second ride on Coastersaurus, Jack needed another peek at his two LEGO City sets. Just to make sure they were still there, I guess. They were. Phew!

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In the Land of Adventure, I found just the cure for Jack's ills: Pharaoh's Revenge. Oh, my word, y'all, it was close to the 7 PM closing time for the Resort, and I thought the day was beyond saving. But then, suddenly, there it was: a play structure where HE could decide what speed to go, whether up or down, in or out, or all around. Did he want to go? YES! He smiled, he DID!

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He was all smiles after that. Whew Whew Whew!!! I was so relieved. He even climbed the LEGO Camel for a last-minute photo op!

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Sophie decided she needed to climb on the Ship of the Desert, too.

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We wended our way back up to Miniland USA to head toward the park entrance, as it was after closing time. But, we kinda meandered a little, taking our sweet time to look at Miami's Little Havana in Miniland, and no Model Citizens rushed us along. Quite nice, quite nice.

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We ended up outside Sunny's Ice Cream Shop in Fun Town, and despite it being after 7 PM, they let us in and served us ice cream. Scoops for everyone!

Yes, we totally had ice cream twice that day. What of it? ;)

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So, Jack River, did you have fun at LEGOLAND Florida Resort for your 12th birthday? He NEVER voluntarily throws me a thumbs-up sign, so I think this is a very good sign that he did! And he admitted that he had fun. Whoop, whoop! SUCCESS!

Many thanks go to the Model Citizens of LEGOLAND Florida, who made our day, along with the Media Team who granted us five free passes to visit the resort in exchange for my opinions and this post. Also, special thanks to my friends Luis and Samantha Z. for helping us enjoy Jack's special day!

Cheers.

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: The Dirty Dozen Meme

 

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

The Dirty Dozen Meme

Stolen from: The Archives
 
1. This weather is really.....
 
 
In a word, it's schizophrenic.

 2. You think you've seen it all, you should see me....

...dance in the car. I rock it out, baby.

 3. I'm sure you would still love me even if...

Actually, I'll say that! I do wet the bed, when I dream about having to pee. I actually do pee. Note to self: Wake UP!

 4. I think I have finally realized...

 

... that I can do it all, because I do do it all.

 5. Since the last time we linked up...

I've probably gained twice as many new gray hairs. Time to re-color! ;) (Thankfully I only had, like, six to start with!)

 6. I get super embarrassed...

when attention is on me and I don't want it

 7. I really thought by now...

... my husband knew how much I loved him, and that I always will.

8. If I thought no one would read it, I would write about...

 

heh. Apparently, every other post I write besides these memes... :]

9. I knew I was in the wrong place...

... this time I went to a new church and I was the only Caucasian person there.  But you know what?! I was welcomed, hugged, kissed, and comfortable there. So no big whoop, y'all!

10. I am so not above...

picking my nose in public. You know, that crap has to get out somehow.

11. Let's pretend...

...my house is clean. My Hubs is just at work, instead if in the hospital again. I'm still a size 5. (dammit)

12. Just you wait...

 

I got nothin' for this one. Literally, nothin'.

Thanks for stopping by! 

Fin.


A Day On Key Biscayne: Winter Miami-Style

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On a lark late Friday afternoon, I asked everyone here if they wanted to go out to the beach on Key Biscayne. The answer was a resounding "YES!" so off we went. 

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It was 8-month-old Paco's first trip to the beach, so of course I took a lot of pictures of him. He's our spoiled little baby, after all. He did not like the water so much, but he had a good time digging around and running to and fro in the sand.

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I'm working on my photography skills and trying to better learn all the bells and whistles on my Nikon, so I took a ton of pictures with lots of different settings. Here are the ones that turned out, well, okay ... in my opinion! ;)

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Sophia, our most rambunctious child, paused for a rare moment of consideration before deciding what hell to raise first, once released from the hour-long stay in Miranda (our minivan).

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Jack, still a diminutive lad at nearly 12 years old, looks considerably more grown-up in his facial features here, I think. Do you agree?

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At 13½, Chloë is the least rambunctious of our children and preferred to stay out of the water. We originally tried to go to Bill Baggs State Park at the end of Key Biscayne, but upon hearing about the threat of Portuguese man-of-war in the area, declined to pay for the swim we wouldn't be able to enjoy. So, still concerned, she refused to even wade in the shallow water at the Key's dog-walking park.

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Well, after running up and down the beach a whole bunch, Chloë was sweaty and hot. I convinced her to cool off in the water just a little bit, explaining how the man-of-war floats visibly on top of the water and is a planktonic animal that won't exactly swim after her. She relented!

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I wanted a new cover photo for my Facebook profile, and this one seemed to fit the bill. However, I didn't like the way I had the kids centered, so ultimately I opted for this one instead:

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Which do you think is better?

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Rob, looking much trimmer lately since successfully finishing his year and a half on steroids to treat his brain tumor (yay!), manned the dog leash and stayed out of the water. He's doing well. He needs to get to physical therapy to get his musculature and balance back, but he's making excellent progress. I'm so thrilled about that.

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It's hard to beat the sunset (or the sunrise, for that matter), over the sea. I've always been a big fan.

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Little boy feet

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Admittedly not the most flattering angle for anyone, I still think Sophia looks beautiful here.

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Sophia Lorelei, nearly 10

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Back to relaxing for the ever-photogenic Chloë Raine

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Ker-plunk!!

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One of the kids noted that a seagull dropped a fish. Suddenly, we were surrounded by shore birds. This is the only photo where it didn't look like a scary scene out of The Birds, so it stayed in the line-up. ;)

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Sophie threw sand - I'm forever railing against such a thing - and accidentally got some in Chloë's eye. So we did an eyewash with Paco's bottle of drinking water. Fine, it worked, and no scratching was involved. But then, Rob dumped water on Sophia and Jack, too! Sophie didn't take too kindly to this! (And I wasn't too thrilled about wasting Paco's drink!)

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Love my lady-babies!

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Jack pointed out that there was a husky swimming in the water near that kayak, above. I couldn't even see it, until I took the pictures of it. Guess I need a new eye exam...

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Chloë started a sandcastle - of sorts - and invited her younger siblings to join her. As usual, Sophia wanted an irrigation channel and Jack rallied for packing the sand with water. Not her plan for this "castle," but she rolled with it.

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Naturally, Paco came to investigate the building. He permitted it to continue. (He didn't pee or poop anywhere in the sand, either. He's a struggle to potty-train, that one with an almond-sized brain, but I was glad that he didn't wiz in the sand at least!)

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I love the colors in this one. The top of her bathing suit is almost mirrored in the setting sun.

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Jack, the engineer in the family, oversaw the public works.

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Just then, a woman with yet another pooch joined the dog park. This one was a fetcher. 

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Back and forth he ran, full of vim and vigor, while I snapped a billion pictures. What spunk!

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Meanwhile, Sophia added a driftwood door to this rather, uh... simple castle.

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Not surprisingly, the Odettelettes clamored to go pet the fetchy dog. They know to ask permission from both us and the dog's owner before approaching any strange canine, but Kota looked like a friendly fella, so we said yes. The lady was super-nice, too.

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The husky (and his kayakin' owner) ran by. Yes, I watched. Meh.

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Meanwhile, Paco was all about having a visit with Kota. We haven't socialized him well with other dogs, so we didn't know if he would behave. He's the friendliest little noodle-doodle with people, so it probably would have been okay, but Rob declined to let them interact.

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And so, they moseyed away.

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Jack said that the slimy muckety-mud smelled "like poop." That's what you get for playing with anoxic muck, little dood. Needless to say, all three cherubs entered the Bath Zone upon our return home!

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More water-play after saying good-bye to Kota

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Speaking of cherubs, how cute was this little toddler? He seemed to like having my lens focused upon him, and he gave me plenty to snap. What a sweetie! ♥

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Sophia started crying about being stung at that point, and after I examined her, I realized that she had just had an icky run-in with some sea lice. Not dangerous, just annoying... but we were saved by the bell! The ice cream truck rolled by at precisely that moment, so I sent Chloë and Jack running to wave them to a stop.

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Chocolate for Chloë and Jack, and vanilla for Sophia. Rob and I decided to break the tie by sharing a vanilla cone ourselves. It cost me $13 (one cone had sprinkles) for four measly cones! Why, back in my day... ;)

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Thankfully, Sophia's tears halted while the ice cream was enjoyed. (How do you think I got through my Robby grief? It's hard to cry so much when you're eating ice cream, y'all...)

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Paco LOVES ice cream - and the occasional Wendy's vanilla Frosty - so we didn't neglect him. He had more of Rob's and my cone than we did!

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Not a drop was wasted.

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Uh-oh, the sea lice were bothering Jack by that point, too. You know when the children are having fun at the beach and getting ice cream, and still asking to go home? It's time to go home.

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Besides, the beach was growing dark, the sun was finished setting, and we were the last ones there. Yup, definitely time to go home.

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See ya next time, Key Biscayne! Thanks for the memories...

Fin.


Sundays In My City: Kiss Me In Kissimmee

Link up here if you want to join Unknown Mami in this fun blog hop this week!

Unknown Mami

 We spent this past Thursday through Sunday in Kissimmee and Orlando, Florida. Our hotel was the Champions World Resort in Kissimmee, on which I got a great rate from Expedia. It was an okay hotel, nothing really wrong with it, but next time I'll take JAFRA's recommendation (we were there for the National Conference) on accommodations. Now that resort was amazing!

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I took a few snaps of Rob - who has dropped the puffy weight he gained from being on steroids from his brain tumor saga nearly overnight, and I am so not jealous - and Paco on the bed one night we were there. Paco actually cooperated! I had to turn off the flash, because he blinked every time, and then he just looked and posed for me. What a love. He sorely needs a bath, though, whew! Definitely going to do that later today...

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These three nincompoops more or less cooperated for a quickie snap or two. Sophie is almost always the one to do "bunny ears," and as you can see, she is completely incorrigible. I love this picture of my three, because for once I think it's easy to see the resemblance among all the babes!

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Speaking of incorrigible, I had told the children that it would be cold on Thursday and Friday, but they should bring their bathing suits anyway, because they could swim all day Saturday when it warmed up again.

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Sure enough, Friday came, and it was only 44°F out (as I mentioned in the previous Sunday Stealing post). They begged and inveigled and cajoled and all of that, and I finally caved, telling them we could go to the heated pool only, dip their feeties in only, and if they absolutely MUST jump full-bodily into the water, I would be waiting there with towels for them to come right back out and get dry.

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Yeah, they didn't really hear that. They heard, "You can jump right in." And so, that is pretty much what all three of them did.

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Jack is my edge-clinger. He stays in the shallow end, always always always. He can swim for short distances, pretty much underwater, but he knows how tall he is and doesn't like to go in water deeper than that!

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Sophia, on the other hand, swims like a fish. She's been swimming since she was two or three - and she's the baby of the lot! She lives in the deep end. It's next to impossible to get this child out of the water, and just as soon as you do, she's begging for the next swimming occasion already. She sets random athletic goals for herself, but she has reiterated several times her desire to be an Olympic swimmer. I really need to look into getting her on some kind of team.

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Chloë, who is braver than Jack in that she will go to the deep end but still only against the wall, is very timid about learning to swim. She's just afraid. She was afraid to walk - as was Jack - and she's afraid to let go and just swim already. So she's 13½ and still clinging to the wall. It took her until last year just to jump in!  But as you can see, she loves it, so maybe one day she'll get brave and go for a real swim.

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Jack loves to do a cannonball and the Dead Man's Float. I told him he's not allowed to do the float unless he tells me first, lest I jump in with all my clothes on - and my Nikon - to rescue him! He's good about following this rule.

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And like I said, there is just no stopping Sophia! She walked at seven months without a fear in the world, and she is still fearless and full of non-stop energy. She doesn't even stop moving in her sleep, often hopping from bed to bed to bed while she's half-unconscious. She did this several times in the hotel this weekend, which was nothing unusual. Oy vey, this girl!!

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Chloë, who has the least amount of insulating body fat, was the first to get out of the water. While the other two swam and then dried off, she danced to the calypso music being piped out over the pools at our resort. Girl loves to get down! ;)

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I'll have more pictures from the JAFRA conference - and the resort where it was held - later. We drove home from about noon to 4:30 on Sunday afternoon, and there were two packages on our porch when we got there. (I never held the mail - oops! - and our box was quite full, too.) Anyway, my Crazy 8 clothing order for the kids had arrived, so I had them all bathe and try on everything. They all looked too cute! I gave the girls each a kitty-eared headband, and Sophia was quick to don this adorable red outfit and then go paint a cat face on herself. She's always drawing, whether it be on paper, the sidewalk (I can never keep enough chalk!), or her own body.

More to come from the conference...!

Fin.


The 2015 Miami Boat Show #Workflow

021515 Miami Boat Show NauticStar Booth

Of course, I can't tell you exactly what I was doing there, but on Sunday, I had a day-long mystery shop in downtown Miami (at Bayside Mall) and at the Miami Beach Convention Center. We were there for me to "work" at the Miami Boat Show.

Like I said, I can't say why I needed to attend, but I can tell you this: the hosts of the show itself, the sponsors (Progressive Insurance, innumerable boat-related companies, and more), and the hundreds of exhibitors spent beaucoup bucks putting on an extremely impressive event. I've been to other major conventions before, but this one was, by far, the most fantastic.

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After we bought our tickets, donned our wristbands, and filled out various and sundry papers to enter the first Exhibition Tent, we meandered around looking at all the sailing-related boats and accessories. We found these awesome Spinlock Deckvests, and the kids went crazy for them. 

We had already been listening to various "Oh, we're gonna need that!" claims from the children over a WiFi-boosting antenna company, life rafts, all kinds of anchors, engines, ropes, and other necessary components of liveaboard boating, so this wasn't a surprise. However, we chose to stop and talk to the Spinlock folks, variously out of the UK and Rhode Island, about their safety vests' designs for children.

The kids were all about 'em. We asked a ton of questions. I picked up a big ol' fatty brochure. We promised to be in touch. And Sophia, naturally, wanted a pink one (which they have). Moving on...

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In the same tent, the kids were captivated by this engine-in-a-tank demo set up by one of the companies on the sailboat side of things. They each got to pull the throttle and make it go, and of course we had to worry about Sophia going full-tilt and making it burst. She's always going full-tilt. Our adventurous little wild child, that one...!

I had to admit, it was definitely an effective demonstration.

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This woman, talking to the girls about where to jump on the trampoline aft of one of "her" luxury TradeWinds yachts, was April. April was super-nice, pleasant, professional, and helpful - I even admitted to her exactly what we were doing there. I never do that.

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April recognized Sophia for the party animal she is, and she remarked that she'll join us on our $10-15,000 TradeWinds cruises and jump with Sophia on the trampoline - and off, into "the drink" (as my beloved Grandpa always called it).

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Chloë preferred to lounge on one of the adjustable pads a bit forward of the trampolines, but April persuaded her to do a smidgen of jumping, too. There was quite a bit of cajoling and hand-holding involved in that scenario.

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Jack, ever the chicken (like his Mama!), could neither be persuaded to jump nor to completely relaxed. As you can see from my shadow, I stuck by him. Heh.

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Paco joined us on this venture. He's a seven-month-old weenie when it comes to us leaving him at home, which is fine for short escapes. However, he has had severe separation anxiety since we adopted him, and if we leave him alone for a lengthy amount of time, he freaks out and tears up his wee little nosy! :( So we brought him with us.

"Pax" was invited up onto all the kabillion-dollar yachts we toured, in and out of exhibition tents and buildings, onto the shuttle bus to ride between the two major sites, and everywhere else. Of course, Rob pointed out that no one batted an eye primarily because one of us carried us the entire time. He was the hit of the show! Everyone wanted to know him. Indeed, he was the key to our introduction to April and her cohorts at the TradeWinds booth. Several folks nominated him "most spoiled dog of the boat show," and I could not disagree. He has us wrapped around his tiny paw.

Anyway, we couldn't find what we were looking for at the sailboat side of things, and then April looked it up on her handy-dandy laptop for me and realized that we were supposed to be in Miami Beach, not downtown Miami. D'oh! She promptly sat us down and, teamed up with her fiancé-partner, gave us a very hard sell on the cruise of a lifetime. Uh. It was then that I realized exactly why she was being so helpful: huge commissions were in her mind from our booking!

I would love - LOVE! - to take the whole fam-damily on a beautiful TradeWinds cruise to St. Maarten, St. Barts, and wherever else that itinerary goes, but it's just not in the budget right now. I told a little white lie to let April know this wasn't going to happen right now, and she and the beau exchanged a deadly glance. Boom. Friendliness gone, class dismissed.

I still feel awful about wasting her time, but c'mon, she knew why we were there! Gah. Anyway.

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Sophia and I sat together on the shuttle bus over to the Convention Center, which turned out to be a good half-hour ride. All of Team Odette fell asleep except for moi, and even I started nodding just before we reached our destination.

(Chloë picked out my sunglasses, by the by. Do they look okay? She said I definitely had to get the silver ones to match my nose ring, haha!) (Also, if you look closely at the side of Sophie's hair, you can see the pink streaks she put in it earlier in the morning. She wants you to see that. You can, yes?)

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We toured several boat brands on the powerboat side of things. The Everglades 30' we visited was quite nice. Jack spent most of his time playing captain, "steering" her around aggressively. He plays so many different flight/driving/boating simulators on his Kindle, he is probably already a better driver than I'll ever be! (Shh, please don't tell him that. For a little guy, he sure has a big ego about his 'skillz.')

021515 Miami Boat Show Intrepid Booth

We also toured a 50' NO SHOES ALLOWED! yacht by Intrepid. Rob estimated its worth at $1.5 million. It was, in a word, gorgeous. When we went below decks to look at the cabins and other living spaces, the kids breathed in unison, "It's beautiful...!" Sophie begged and begged for us to buy it. She pouted when Daddy asked her if she was writing the check. Seriously, kiddo?! Your 'rents aren't Bill and Melinda Gates, darlin'!

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Lastly, we visited an unnamed (by me) boat that was nice and all, but the least impressive of the bunch. The kids were nonplussed. Jack continued "driving" and working the controls, and Chloë pulled up a bench to lie down.

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Sophia joined her sister on the port side of the boat. I think this one actually did fall asleep. I know we all wanted to!

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As for Hubs, he did very well at the boat show, but it definitely tired him out more than he's been used to. There was a lot of walking involved, not to mention all the climbing and maneuvering around the boats and docks. He's not the spry ninja he once was pre-tumor, but he's getting there! And rapidly, I would say; however, he walked a lot more slowly and carefully by the end of the day than he did fresh out of the box. I'm proud of where he was a year ago and where he is now, but I told him not to overdo the efforts to the detriment of his recovery.

Anyhoo... it was a great, big, fun day. We didn't spend a dime on the many food and beverage offerings there, much as I'd have loved to, because we brought our own food. Probably saved us many dollars, so I'm glad we did that...  The Boat Show ended today, but there is always next year if you wanna go!

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: Why Do You Want To Know THAT Meme

 

Why Do You Want To Know That Meme?

Stolen from: My Random Randomness

1. What TV gameshow/reality show would you like to be on? 

 

I'd LOVE to be on Jeopardy!

2.  What was the first movie you bought in VHS or DVD? 

I have no idea, but I'm sure it was something Disney.

3. If you had one million dollars to spend only on yourself, what would you spend it on?

If I actually had to spend it, not save or invest it, I guess I would buy a house, a boat, a nicer vehicle (or two), a whole buncha yarn, and gosh... can I not buy my kids a college education or three? Sheesh.

4. One place you've visited, can't forget, and want to go back to? 

 

Definitely Venice, Italy... we didn't get to ride in a gondola as planned, because (a) We were short on time, (b) We were short on Euros, and (c) I was way too damn fat to get in!

5. Do you trust easily? 

I trust way too much, way too easily, way too many people who continue to let me down. :/

6. Do you generally think before you act, or act before you think? 

 

Historically, when it has really mattered, I'm a "Think first, worry later, apologize never" kind of person. I plan, and plan, and plan everything out, and then I just do whatever I was going to do anyway. I'm not saying I'm proud of it.

7. Is there anything that has made you unhappy these days? 

Yeah, Hubby pulled a 'sundowner' on me exactly one year to the day after his brain surgery, on Thursday, and I had to rush him back to the hospital. He got released this afternoon and is okay now, except for the broken ribs... Poor guy is in a world of pain. :(

8. Do you have a good body image? 

I wish I did, but no. I have horrible, horrible self-esteem.

9. What is your favorite fruit? 

Like my daughter, Sophia, it's the strawberry. However, unlike Sophia, strawberries are not my absolute most favorite thing on the planet...!

10. I’m always being asked…

 

Two things: (a) If getting my nose pierced hurt (Yes, yes it did - both times!), and (b) If I am so-and-so's identical twin. Apparently I have a lot of doppelgängers, because I get asked that all. the. time!!!

11. The last big belly laugh I had was…

Oh, this trio keeps me in hysterics every single day of my life. I'm telling you folks, they are FUNNY, funny people. Sophie in particular (the blondie on the left) is quite the amusing little lass!

12. What websites do you visit daily? 

Facebook, naturally, and Hip2Save, because I am a bit of a couponing fiend, y'all.

13. What have you been seriously addicted to lately? 

Well, I'll tell you what I'm not addicted to any longer: Lindt Peanut Butter Truffles. I used to love these things. I could only get them at a select few stores and on the Lindt website, so I usually search for them high and low whenever I go somewhere new. 

Fast-forward to last night, when we stopped in hospital gift shop to get flowers and schtuff for Hubs. We walked out, and I noticed they sold a bunch of Lindt truffles. Um, okay. That got my attention. Upon closer inspection, I counted TWELVE bags of peanut butter ones! Holy cow.

They are thankfully not cheap, or I'd have bought all dozen. The kids were squealing right along with me. I bought two bags. We went upstairs to see Daddy, and once we got all settled in, I opened a bag and distributed a couple each to their waiting hands. Rob wanted none of that. Smart man.

They must have changed their formula?! Because all four of us agreed that these were no better than Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. I haz the sads... until I realized that they make me fat, and then I had no more sads.

14. What kind of person do you think the person who tagged you is? 

No one tagged me in this-here meme, and I love that bay-bay!!

15. What's the last song that got stuck in your head? 

I'm loving "FourFiveSeconds" right now. LOVE. 

  16. Favorite clothing? 

I'm loving Superdry right now. Very cool gear.

17. Do you think Rice Krispies are yummy? 

Yeah, but I can't eat that anymore. I love a good ol'-fashioned bowl of cereal, but it's off-limits since my drastic bypass. Soup, too. Them's the breaks!

18. What would you do if you saw $100 lying on the ground? 

Of course, I'd keep that shiznat. Duh.

19. Items you couldn't go without during the day? 

My Samsung Galaxy S5. Take my phone, and I will hunt you down. M'kay?

20. What should you be doing right now?

 

Sleeping, der. It's 12:43 AM. And now that I'm finished with this post, I'm going to check the mail.

Have a lovely!

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: 2014-2015 Meme, Part The First

 

Link yourselves right up here if you're feeling it today, folks! I am!

2014/2015 Meme, part one 

Stolen from: German Language Rocks 
 
1. What one event, big or small, are you going to tell your grandchildren about?

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Hubs and I just celebrated our 14th anniversary, so that's on my mind. I'll definitely be telling the grandkiddos about how we met and eloped two months later!

2. If you had to describe your 2014 in 3 words, what would they be?
 
 
Brain Tumors Suck... yeah that pretty much sums up 2014!
 
3. What new things did you discover about yourself?
 
 
 
I've realized that I am stronger than I thought myself capable of being.
 
4. What single achievement are you most proud of?
 
 
 
I am, historically, a very wussy girl when it comes to standing up for myself to my dad. But when he came down to visit us for Thanksgiving, I did it. I stood up for what I thought was right, and I survived. Yeah!!!
 
5. What was the best news you received?
 
 
 
I was pretty stoked to hear my great girlfriend, Erin, is with child! Woot!
 
6. What was your favourite place that you visited in 2014?
 
 
 
In November, Hubs and I visited Playa del Carmen. It was gorgeous. The whole trip, overall, was pretty rockin'.
 
7. Which of your personal qualities turned out to be the most helpful this year?
 
 
 
Perseverance. I have pretty kick-ass stick-to-it-iveness!
 
8. Who was your number one go-to person that you could always rely on?
 
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I would like to be able to say that it was Hubs, because it usually is, but when they cut out part of his brain... it defaulted to the answer being the other person in this picture with him. So one or the other of us is my final answer! Take it or leave it. ;)
 
9. Which new skills did you learn?
 
 
 
This is going to sound silly, but I learned to perfect the way I cook my sunny-side-up eggs and make toast at the same time, so it comes out exactly, perfectly, the way I want it to be. It's the little things sometimes, okay?!
 
10. What, or who, are you most thankful for?
 
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Oh, come on, now. You know I'm supremely thankful for my darling, beloved husband. Yes, he's different now, but he's still here. And that is everything.
 
11. If someone wrote a book about your life in 2014, what kind of genre would it be? A comedy, love story, drama, film noir or something else?
 
 
 
I am certain it would have to be a comedy of errors. 
 
12. What was the most important lesson you learnt in 2014?
 
 
 
I learned that I am entitled to my feelings, have always been entitled to my feelings, and will always be entitled to those feelings - haters be damned!
 
13. Which mental block(s) did you overcome?
 
 
 
I decided I was ready to take the next step, at the end of 2014, in my knitting. I have always been afraid of success, but I am ready to pursue something that I believe I can really, truly great at. Hubs encouraged me to sign up for The Knitting Guild Association's Master course in Hand Knitting, and I did! Literally, just yesterday, I printed out the Level 1 coursework. I can't wait to join the ranks of master knitters. 
 
14. What 5 people did you most enjoy spending time with?
 
 
Hubs, of course, and our three babies, naturally. For #5, I'll add my BFF, Dr. Lisa, with whom I visited at our high school reunion over the summer. Good times!
 
15. What was your biggest breakthrough moment career-wise?
 
 
 
Breakthrough: realizing that I don't have to finish my book by the end of the year, or even within two years. I can take my time to get it just right. Whew! (Because I'm nowhere near finished.)
 
16. How did your relationship to your family evolve?
 
 
A very important event happened within the boundaries of my extended family, and I'm not ready to share about that just yet... but it affected me profoundly. I'm still reeling a bit, trying to recover from it, and preserve those family relationships. It's tough.
 
17. What book or movie affected your life in a profound way?
 
 
 
I took my 13yo daughter, Chloë, to go see the movie Laggies. It affected us both differently and opened us up for a lot of deeper conversation on the way home. I watched it from the perspective of a mom, of course, and she watched it subjectively from the daughter's viewpoint. It wasn't the most profound story in the world, but it made me see that, even though I f**k up, I am a pretty damned good mom to these kids.
 
18. What was your favorite compliment that you received this year?
 
 
My dad told someone I was brilliant, and that the kids would get a stellar education under my tutelage. I was shocked; he's usually the guy who says the most jacked-up shit. It meant an enormous amount to me for him to say that!
 
19. What little things did you most enjoy during your day-to-day life?
 
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I love all my children dearly, and I have no favorites, but Sophia, the youngest at 9, is deliciously amusing. She cracks me up on a regular basis with the things she cooks up. Pain in the butt though she is, she's absolutely worth the trouble! ;)
 
20. What cool things did you create this year?
 
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Most of my 'creations' involved yarn, I guess. Maybe not so cool to you, but I think it's pretty amazing what one can create with just sticks and string!
 
21. What was your most common mental state this year (e.g. excited, curious, stressed)?
 
 
Stressed is definitely the winner! And, sad to say, I'm a stress-eater, so I have gained a few pounds. I am going to remove them in the current year, by gosh!
 
22. Was there anything you did for the very first time in your life this year?
 
 
 
Hmm... that's a toughie! I've been thinking, and I can't come up with anything cool. Uh, I attempted to ride my kids' scooters (fail), and I pretended I was a planet (win)? Sheesh, I hope 2015 is more exciting when it comes to firsts.
 
23. What was your favourite moment spent with your friends?
 
 
 
Definitely the high school reunion!! I'm soooo glad we were able to get up there for it!
 
24. What major goal did you lay the foundations for?
 
 
The Master Knitter program, as mentioned above. Wheee!
 
25. Which worries turned out to be completely unnecessary?
 
 
Yeah,... pretty much all of them! Worry is such a time-suck for me. I gotta stop that nonsense.

Welp, as always, thanks for stopping by!
 
Fin.

Sunday Stealing: The New Year Meme

Link up here if you're fabulous, darling!

The New Year's Eve Meme

 From the archives (and I'm going to spare you folks all the funny pictures today. I'm keepin' it real)!

In 2014, I gained:

all-new respect for my brain tumor-fighter of a husband.

I lost:

some excess baggage, in the form of "friends" who really weren't.

I stopped:

wondering when Hubs would recover.

I started:

wondering IF he would. :'(

I was hugely satisfied by:

my 20th high school reunion this past summer. I am so thrilled that I was able to go, and I had a fantastic time.

And frustrated by: 

our Chihuahua puppy Paco's inability to learn to pee and poop outside, rather than in the laundry.

I am so embarrassed that I: 

have such a messy house.

Once again, I:

suffered many migraines and was a frequent flyer at the local ER.

Once again, I did not:

find a suitable psychopharmacologist to help me manage my post-bariatric surgery bipolar medicine issues. :\

The biggest physical difference between me last December and this December is:

I've grown enough hair back to have had it cut several times! 

The biggest psychological difference between me last December and this December is: 

Oh, honey. I should write a book. Oh wait, I am.

I loved spending time:

with the people who loved spending time with me.

Why did I spend even two minutes: 

working on that ill-conceived fundraiser for those unfortunately-conceived, selfish people. Ugh. What a clusterf**k.

I should have spent more time: 

knitting for Stephanie's kiddo, Vinnie.

I regret buying: 

into the idea that if I weigh more, I'm worth less.

I will never regret buying... even though with that money I could have:

the girls each a bicycle with my Christmas gift card from my father-in-law, though I could have bought something for myself. I got what I really wanted, anyway.

I ...way too much.

complained about stupid sh*t

I didn’t... enough.

exercise

 ... drove me crazy.

My dad's ultra-Conservative and über-racist views...

The most relaxing place I went was:

into Hubs' arms. Especially when we were in Playa del Carmen, Mexico! Ahhhh...

Why did I go to...

so much trouble for those people, who crapped on me in return?

The best thing I did for someone else was:

for once, keep my mouth shut and simply apologize.

The best thing I did for myself was:

realize that my migraines were generated by nerve cord damage from my last c-section, nearly a decade ago.

The best thing someone did for me was:

think of me, when least I expected anything, at all, from that person.

The one thing I’d like to do again, but do it better, was:

express my sincere condolences for someone else's loss, while not mentioning my own feelings about it whatsoever. Publicly, anyway.

Happy New Year, folks! I hope 2015 is everything you want it to be.

Fin.

 


Sunday Stealing: Let's Talk Travel

 

Link up here if you're playing along today!

Ok let’s talk travel, do you like to travel? 

I live to travel. It's my mission in life to see everything I can see before I leave.

Where have you been? 

I can't say I've been to all those places, but I've been around the Caribbean a bunch, and we went on our European cruise in 2008. That was amazing. I lived in Guam and wanted to go to Australia and all around Asia, but alas, we didn't get to stay very long. I've been to Hawai'i, but unless the inside of the Honolulu airport is representative of the whole, then I don't count that. ;)

Next place you want to go? 

In mid-November, we'll be here (assuming I get all our passport stuff in order before then, d'oh!) at the Azul Fives resort on the Mexican Riviera. I'm super stoked!

What is something you MUST take with you when you travel? 

I have GOT to bring my phone with me, everywhere, every time. I can not stand to be that disconnected, but more importantly, I need to be able to be reached if something happens with our kids. This may be the first trip since Europe when we don't bring the laptop with us, though!

How do you like to travel? (mode of transportation)

I don't care how I get there, as long as I go...

With someone, or alone? 

I've actually never traveled by myself, and that is one thing that is not on my bucket list (I have a long list). I prefer companionship, so I can immediately share my experiences with someone and then remember them together down the road.

Do you dance in your car when there are other people with you? 

Of course I do! I have specific car-dancing moves for specific songs, too. Hubs laughs at me... but I think he enjoys my silliness. ;)

If you're quiet what does it mean? 

I'm never quiet when I'm comfortable. So if I'm quiet, it means I'm not.

Favorite scent?

My favorite scents are fruity, especially citrus, but when I smell the sea, it means I am HOME.

Least favorite scents: florals and that God-awful ubiquitous vanilla aroma. *gag*

Favorite store? 

I love any artsy-craftsy store, but Pearl in South Miami is the Bomb dot com! When I took my very last undergrad class at U. Miami, it was Design and Drawing, and I went to Pearl to get my supplies. That was in 1997, and I still get excited when I drive by that store, all these years later.

Say you wanted coffee.. what kind is your favorite?  

Lately, I've been getting the Venti Java Chip Frappuccino Light at Starbucks... and drinking about a third before I pass the rest to Rob or the kidoodles. I can never finish it and always wonder why I don't just get the Tall.

Favorite kind of pizza? 

My favorite pizza was this two-tone cherry tomato and goat cheese rustic pizza I made several months ago, using Martha Stewart magazine's dough recipe. It's a killer recipe, fo'shizzle. However, when I go out for it, I love a good margherita pizza.

I'm a New Yorker, though, so of course the best pizza in the land comes from there and must be folded in half!

Do you get embarrassed easily? 

I blush easily and can't stand being the center of attention - even positive attention makes me nervous. I hate that about me.

Do you mind people asking you personal questions? 

Oh, come now. I am the Queen of TMI. I just don't want to be on center stage when I over-divulge!

You have a tank of gas, $50, and the day off… what do you do? 

I'd probably head for the Florida Keys. I can be in Key Largo in 20 minutes. What do you want to do?

Favorite tv show?

 

Well, we haven't had TV service in at least 10 years, but if we did it will still be Big Bang Theory. I miss TV!

Song you turn the volume up all the way to listen to? 

"Kiss" by Prince, and yes I sing and dance to it, too! ;)

Something you keep in your car? 

I try to keep Miranda (our new-to-us 2012 Kia Sedona) an oasis of clean, since our house is decidedly not, so not much. Sophia, my 9yo, keeps her baseball stuff in the back, and I would be lost if I didn't keep my car charger in there. Literally. I must have my GPS!

 Highlight of your day? 

When Hubs worked, I would say it was when he came home. Since he's now a disabled, retired vet, he's always home now. But when he laughs... it makes me smile. Best thing in the world.

 Something you do everyday that you wish you didn’t have to do? 

Since I proclaimed myself the Queen of TMI, I guess it's now time to live up to it: I have a crazy GI tract and have been living in the bathroom especially since I got my gastric bypass surgery nearly six years ago. And our toilet... well, you have to flush it like 20 times to get stuff to go down. I spend a lot of time there, you know what I'm sayin'? (I wish diarrhea upon the idiot who invented low-flow plumbing facilities. GAH!)

 Do you mind if people just show up at your house unannounced? 

When I was in college, and my dorm room was always clean, I loved that. Now that I live with all these people - and animals - who apparently are untrainable in the realm of cleaning up their own crap... I hate it. Please call first. No, text. I don't like to answer my phone, either. :P

What do you do when you disagree with someone? 

I'm always right. The End. (You know that saying, "Would you rather be right or be happy?"? I have to say that to myself a lot... 'cause of course I'd rather be happy!)

Do you enjoy rain? 

I love the rain. I do. Because without it, there would be no rainbows. (It goes without saying that I love the sun shining, too, right?)

Who’s your favorite person in the whole world… besides me?

 

I love my hubs more than anyone on the planet. He is everything that matters to me, or he helped me create it. Even though he's dain-bramaged now, and different, and stuff... without him, I would be nothing and no one. He's my gift, and I know I got the better end of the deal in this relationship. I'm keeping him forever. Love you, Babe!

Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.

 

 


Saturday 9: All Night Long

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

Saturday 9: All Night Long (All Night)
(because Lia asked for an 80s song)

If you're not familiar with today's song, you can hear it here.


1) This music video was produced by Mike Nesmith of The Monkees. Can you name a Monkees song?

Hmm... I know the show's theme song, and I know "Daydream Believer."

2) The song includes the foreign sounding phrases, "Oh jambali Tom bo li d, say de moi ya," and "Oh, Jambo Jumbo!" Mr. Richie meant to include language indigenous to the Caribbean, but was writing the song under deadline and simply made those phrases up instead. Tell about the most recent time you cheated or "cut corners."

Let's see... Well, it's not really cheating, per se, but it's all I can think of at the moment: I'm a big coupon user, and Target puts out all different kinds of mobile coupons that are a pain to access at the cash register. So instead of dealing with that nonsense, I just took a screenshot of all the codes for the cashier to scan in one fell swoop. Does that count?

3) Richie was a frat boy at college. Kappa Kappa Psi, to be exact. Were you a member of a fraternity or sorority

Uh, no. I was a member of Beta Beta Beta (National Biology Honor Society) and Rho Rho Rho (U. of Miami's Marine Science Honor Society - get it?! We nerds have such a sense of humor), but that's about as Greek as I got.

4) When this song topped the charts (September 1983), Vanessa Williams became the first African American to be crowned as Miss America. Do you watch beauty pageants?

Holy crap, was it that long ago that she was crowned? I actually love beauty pageants, particularly this one, but I haven't watched in at least half a decade. It's been that long since we've subscribed to TV service. We all miss it; whenever we stay in hotels, we're all glued to the television when we're in the room. Lame.

5) Since it's Labor Day weekend, that holiday established to celebrate the American worker, let's talk about the workplace. Tellers work in a bank, actors work on a stage or a set, auto workers work on an assembly line. How would you describe your workplace?

I work everywhere and nowhere all at once. I'm a work-at-home business evaluation specialist, AKA a glorified mystery shopper. I work when I want, wherever I want (within limits), so I'm my own boss. It's great fun with great pay on some days, and lousy pay with zero benefits on other days. Heh.

6) An estimated 40% of us have dated a coworker. Have you ever had an office romance?

When I worked at the Publix near UM during my college years, I went out with everyone and his brother that I worked with. Good times, good times.

7) Labor Day is a big weekend for travel. How did you book your last vacation? (Online, through a travel agent, over the phone...)

We went to New York for my 20th reunion (I've only mentioned it about a thousand times by now) a few weeks ago. I booked that trip with our tax refund back in February online - do people still use travel agents? 
 
8) Mother Winters won't wear white again from now until next Memorial Day. Sam thinks that's just crazy. Where do you fall in this heated mother/daughter debate? 
 
I live in Miami, dudes. It's always summertime here. If I didn't have a big ol' fat butt, I'd wear lots of white all year long. Maybe if I ever get my freakin' plastic surgery done, that'll be my new wardrobe.

9) When you look at back on Summer 2014, what will you remember?

That afore-mentioned reunion will top the list. The whole week was pretty grand. I saw tons of friends, and my sister's family, and renewed even more friendships that had lapsed. I'm thrilled we were able to go. It was every bit as wonderful as I could possibly have imagined it. 

Today is my husband's 42nd birthday. He's had a rough year, and I'm thankful he's still with us. Happy birthday, Darlin' Hubs o' Mine!

Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: If You Could Meme

 

Link up here if you're playing along today!

From Sweet Memes, our friend CAT!:

IF YOU COULD: 

Travel anywhere, where would it be? 

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

 Meet anyone, who would it be? 

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

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

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

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

 Be anyone for a day, who would it be? 

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

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

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

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

 Change one thing about your life what would it be? 

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

 Have any superpower what would it be? 

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

 Be any animal for a day which would you be? 

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

 Date anyone who would it be? 

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

 Change one thing about the world what would it be? 

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

 Live in any fictional universe which would you choose? 

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

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

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

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

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

 Change one of your personality traits which would you choose? 

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

 Be talented at anything instantly what would you choose? 

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

 Forget one event in your life which would you choose? 

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

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

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

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

I wouldn't change a thing.

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

 I'd choose to be happy the way I am.

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

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

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

Come on, now.

 Be any height, which would you choose?  

I'm happy at 5'2".

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: The 90 Meme, Part The Third

 

Link up here if you're playing along today!

And awaaaaaay we go:

61. Do you like current pop stars?  

I lurve Bruno Mars, and I'm crushing on Ed Sheeran, so... yeah?

62. What is your least favorite chore? 

Oh ma gaw, I should totes do that!

Least favorite: Dusting. You thought I was gonna say scrubbing toilets, dintcha?

63. Last place you drove your car? 

Pizza

I drove to Domino's to pick up our free pizza for the Dodgers' no-hitter MLB game. Woot!

 64. Ever been out of the country? 

If I hadn't, I would consider myself much poorer indeed.

 65. Where were you the last time you used a public bathroom? 

I try to avoid it at all costs, but I did have to make a pit stop in a Burger King this afternoon after chugging a gallon of Diet Mt. Dew and getting caught in traffic during a deluge. Thank ye gods, it was clean.

 66. Could you handle being in the military? 

I've been a military wife for 13 years. That's as close as I'mma get.

 67. What is your average cell phone bill? 

It's not super bad since I get a 25% discount for being a Nielsen family. 

 68. Who or what are you thinking about right now? 

I'm wondering what witty label I'm going to put for the posts in which I reference my new Samsung Galaxy S5, now that I've upgraded from my iPhone.

 69. When was the last time you laughed REALLY hard? 

Butt Pic

Just a li'l bit ago, whilst creating this family portrait for my Facebook cover photo!

 70. How many pairs of shoes do you own? 

Like a dozen, fewer now that my feet have shrunk from a 7½ to a 5. I'm still getting rid of the too-biggies. I'm not really a shoe whore, or a purse whore, or a clothes whore... am I really female?!

 71. Are your toes always painted? 

Google "ugly feet funny" to see way gross pictures, by the way. As for my toes? Generally I do keep them painted. Right now my booboo toenail is showing black through the paint.

 72. How many piercings do you have? 

 

Nine. Four in each ear and one in my nose. I don't really have one in my bellybutton; I'm not a follower. Okay, so I don't really have a show-offable belly, but I still wouldn't.

 73. What are you doing today? 

Not what I should be, I'll say that. Hey, what do you want from me? That couch is comfy.

 74. Have you ever been gambling? 

I've been to Vegas and gambled with someone else's cash. I prefer things that way.

 75. When is the last time you updated your blog? 

I'm doing it right now. To quote my elder daughter, "That's kind of a duh."

 76. Do you like roller coasters? 

Do bears shit on the pope? (or something) (That would be a "no.")

 77. Have you ever been to Disneyland or -World? 

Never been to -Land. Been to WDW 3-4 times over the course of as many decades. 

 78. Do you have a favorite cartoon character? 

Just keep swimming!

 79. Last thing you cooked? 

IMG_8467

Chocolate chip cookies that I got paid to make after a girl I know sampled a few from a prior batch and declared them, quote, "WOW." If baking counts, that is.

 80. How's the weather? 

It's full-on hurricane season here at the southern tip of Florida. What do you think?

 81. Do you e-mail more than snail mail? 

...but I still like writin' letters and sending cards and stuff.

 82. What's the funniest picture you ever took with your cell phone?  

You mean that photo up there with everyone's hineys wasn't good enough?

83. Last time you were sick? 

I'm bipolar. I'm always "sick."

 84. What states have you lived in? 

New York, South Carolina, Florida, Virginia - and Guam

 85. Do you wish you could move? 

We're hoping to live on a boat by the time I'm 40. Hubs is still recovering from brain surgery, so... he's got 2½ years to be well.

 86. Do you take a lot of quizzes? 

Oh, no more than the next blahg writer, I guess.

 87. What is your dream car? 

I'd love a Vespa. Do scooters count?

 88. Have you ever wanted someone you can't have? 

Sure, but there are no returns from Heaven, so you know... I'll wait.

 89. If you could be anywhere right now where would it be? 

I have to pee, so I guess the bathroom?

 90. Are you happy with your life?

 

I'm good.

Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.


Saturday 9: Little Red Corvette

 

Link up here if you're playing along today!

Saturday 9: LIttle Red Corvette (recommended by Smellyann) That's me!


No link this week. Prince apparently is very strict about copyright infringement.

1) The subject of this song is frankly sexual. Do you blush easily?

Why yes, I do, despite the fact that my mind is frequently in the gutter. I hate it (the blushing).

2) Prince is his real name (Prince Rogers, to be exact). Growing up, his  relatives called him "Skipper." Do you have any nicknames within your family?
 
Smellyann, at you service! (This was bestowed upon me by my older sister, as a middle school joke. My dad called me "Mellie-Ann," and Stacey changed it to Smelly... but I liked it.)
 
3) Prince says he's "obsessed" with Mozart and reads whatever he can find about the composer. What's the last book you read?
 
I'm reading Just One Thing by Dr. Rick Hanson, about how to develop a Buddha Brain. It was highly recommended by my former therapist; I enjoy perusing it when I've nothing else to do, so it's not really a stay-up-all-night-reading kind of book for me.

4) Between Prince and The Beach Boys, the Corvette is a much sung-about car. Tell us about your vehicle.
 
"Miguel" is an '04 Chevy Trailblazer. We had a much newer, much better Honda Odyssey, but, well, we lost "Penelope" in the midst of all our financial desperation after Hubs retired and the brain tumor drama started. Long story short, Miguel gets us from A to B, but other than that, he's nothing to write home about. Still, I'm grateful we have a vehicle.
 
5) In the 1980s, when Prince was popular, MTV could turn a song into a hit. In 2014, how do you hear new music?
 
Lamely, I mostly listen to all the Top 40 stations to get my new music. When I get sick of that, I switch around to the "classic rock" station which, to my dismay, now plays all the music of my youth. So apparently, I'm vintage now, too. I also listen to a lot of Latin music and know quite a few of the songs in Spanish. There's a French/Creole station or two that play here in Miami, but I just can't get into that music as much.
 
6) In 1982, when "Little Red Corvette" ruled the airwaves, Braniff Airways shocked the travel industry and threw passengers into chaos by declaring bankruptcy. When did you last fly? Did your trip go smoothly?
 
I don't think I've flown since our trip to Europe in 2008, but we'll be flying into New York at the end of July. I'm looking forward to it; I love to fly, and I'll see my sister and her family (and possibly my dad), along with all my high school chums. Can't wait!
 
7) 1982 is also the year Disney opened Epcot. Have you ever been to a Disney park?
 
Sure. The last time we went to Walt Disney World was in 2006, and we stayed on property for five days and visited all the parks and Downtown Disney. We've since been back to Downtown Disney several times but haven't gotten to an actual park in eight years. My kids super, rilly rilly want to go, but, y'know, it costs.
 
8) 1982 is the year Cheers premiered. The sitcom was set in a bar where "everybody knows your name." Tell us about your favorite local bar or restaurant.
 
There's a tapas restaurant in Coral Gables that I've been to at least half a dozen times "for work" since we moved here. Every dish and drink (get the sangría!) is spectacular; I've put lots of pictures of our "small plates" on Instagram (follow me: @Smellyann).
 
9) The 1980s were considered a highpoint in professional tennis, with Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe dominating the sport. Do you play tennis?
 
I have crappy depth perception, but I loved to attempt to play in high school. My serve wasn't bad, though. I'm not really the athletic type, which is a huge understatement. My sis, a Tough Mudder, got the "physical" genes.
 
Thanks for stopping by! Happy SUMMER!!!
 
Fin.

Saturday 9: Blues In the Night

 

Link up here if you're playing along today!

Saturday 9: Blues in the Night (1952)

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


1) Was last night a good night for you? Or were you singing the blues?

Last night was pretty good. I finally saw the neurosurgeon, who said the lesion in my brain was probably a birth defect, a cyst that developed while I was a fetus, and nothing to worry about. I have to get it re-checked with another MRI in six months, but he didn't expect any changes. PHEW! I was so happy and relieved to hear that, and it set the tone for the rest of the day.

2) In this song, Rosemary Clooney sings about hearing "big talk" she didn't quite believe. What's the last fib, tall tale or out-and-out lie you heard?

It was probably one I told, and that's all I can or will say about that! ;)

3) Rosemary Clooney has a well-known nephew -- George, the Oscar winner and frequent People magazine cover story. Do you have any nieces or nephews?

I have several. I have two nieces from my sister, and one of each from both Hubs' brother and half-sister. They're all wonderful and beautiful kiddos!

4) Ms. Clooney married the same man twice. They married, had five children and divorced. Then three years later, they tried again ... and divorced again. Have you ever been tempted to give it another try with one of your former loves?

Sure I have. My high school boyfriend, Benji, and I tried again while I was in college. It wasn't meant to be; we're just two very different people. We are still friends, though.

5) Singers as diverse as Linda Ronstadt, Bette Midler and Amy Winehouse have said they admired and were influenced by Rosemary Clooney. If you could meet any artist (singer, writer, actor, director, painter, musician ...), who would it be?

I'm gonna list one for each of those listed categories:

Singer - Right now, I'm crushing on Ed Sheeran, not necessarily (just?) for looks but for his artistic bent.

Writer - Not only because of proximity to his beloved Key West, I'd go with Ernest Hemingway.

Actor - I have a thing for Matt Damon, so he'd be my choice. He lives near here, too, but I shan't stalk him, don't worry! ;)

Director - I'd love to pick the brain of Sofia Coppola.

Painter - It would be great to get to really know, as if anyone could do that, the great Vincent van Gogh, because we are similar in personality. I won't cut off my own ear anytime soon, but we have the same Personality Type. I'm self-sabotaging and am doing my damnedest not to die the same way he did.

Musician - Eric Clapton, hands down, whom I've loved for a couple decades now.

I'll add Romero Britto, my favorite fine artist, who ALSO can be found 'round these parts. He's probably the one I stand the best chance of actually meeting one day, too! Wish me luck and stuff.

6) 1952, the year this record was a hit, is also the year the "Big Bang Theory" was introduced by physicists Ralph Alpher and George Gamow. That is too lofty a topic for this humble meme, so instead we'll just ask: Do you watch the TV show of the same name? 

Hahaha... I was all getting ready to discuss the theory, too. BAZINGA! The show is (was) my favorite and what I miss terribly about not having television service for the past four or five years. I'll have to catch up online one day, I suppose. Right now, though, I'm binge-watching Dexter, and I'm on Season 6. I really connect with Dexter and have my own dark passenger, but this one doesn't want to harm anyone but my own self. :\

7) Sam Winters just broke her right thumbnail. While she won't go so far as saying it has her singing the blues, she must admit it bugs her. What little annoyances are you dealing with today?

My chin is breaking out, and it's driving me crazy. Not just because I'm 37, but hello, I've always had great skin. I don't want to start dealing with that crap now, FPS.

8) The house next door to Sam's has a FOR SALE on the lawn. Are you contemplating a move?

We just moved a year ago, so no plans anytime soon for another move. Hubs and I still retain our pipe dream of living on a boat, though. He'll have to get much better healthwise, though, before that can happen... and so will our bank account! ;)

9) What's your search engine of choice: Google, Bing, Yahoo or Ask? 

None of the above. I always use Swagbucks, so that I can get money back from my searches. I get about $10 in Amazon.com gift cards each month, which helps!

Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.


Friday Fragments, Version 5.2.14

Half-Past Kissin' Time

Link up here if you've got some brain gems to deposit on us this morning!

So today's the day. I'm headed to the neurosurgeon, CT and MRI images from the last month in hand, to discuss what this means for Ye Olde-Fashioned Cerebrum. I'm nervous, as the lesion that I have can explain some of my symptoms of psychosis, which we've been explaining away as part of my Bipolar I diagnosis. Plus, the vain part of me just doesn't want to shave my head - again! 

I'm on the fence, and this morning's neuro visit may help me make the decision, but I'm strongly considering putting the kids back in public school in the fall. It kind of breaks my heart a little bit, but I feel like, especially as they age up (Chloë will be 13 {!!!!} then), they need more than I am able to give them. I want to give them the best possible chance at success - however they may choose to define it - in life, and deep down, I feel like homeschooling is letting them down in that regard. I don't know. No need to weigh in with your thoughts on this one; I don't really want outside input at this point.

Why do they ruin awesome songs by overplaying them? It's no secret I'm a Top 40 pop music fan, so of course all the songs I listen to are generally overplayed, but it seems like every other song on the radio is John Legend's "All of Me." I adore it, but I'm ready for it to fade out a little bit.

Our washing machine is on the fritz, and we're out of clean towels. Rob has tried, unsuccesfully, to repair it, which sucks. I do not relish the idea of hitting up a laundromat while we wait for a repair!

I've stalled on writing my book. I've written out the whole outline and know pretty much exactly what the whole book will say. It's just a matter of taking the time to get the words out of my head and into print. With due diligence, though, I just know it can be great. 

I did something quite naughty on Facebook a couple of days ago. I tagged my childhood tormentor in one of her own pictures as "The Face of Evil." Of course, she will have to - and won't - approve it, but in the moment, I felt better. Now, I just wish I hadn't put myself out there like that.

I got a new bike! It's adorable:

IMG_7938

I'm having fun riding it around the nabe. I hadn't ridden a bike in about 17 years, so I'm a bit wobbly and have wiped out once, but it's good times!

Team Odette went out to Miami Beach last night for a dinner mystery shop. I was supposed to stage a complaint; I didn't have to fake one, though, as there were copious problems along the way. And Rob thought the staff were all condescending hipsters, whereas I thought... they were pretty cool. We often have widely disparate perceptions of such things, which I find interesting. Also, for the amount of money people pay to live and visit South Beach, you'd think the roads wouldn't be so completely sucktastic! Anyway, here's a selfie the lady babies and I took while there:

IMG_7949

Have a great day, you guys. Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.