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Saturday 9: The Rain, The Park & Other Things

Cowsills - Rain Park & Other Things - Amazon.com Music

Hello, friends. I trust you're all alive and well, but in this insane year that is 2020, that is certainly nothing to be taken for granted. So tonight, I'd like to take the opportunity to express how much I appreciate each of you, from Crazy Sam who writes the question, to all of you who join in answering them.

Today, on the fourth anniversary of the Pulse massacre in Orlando, 45's administration announced they are further rolling back protections for trans and other LGBTQ+ individuals. They have just announced a change in the date of their Tulsa rally from Juneteenth - chosen during the current Black Lives Matter protests, of all things! - to the next day. At least they are listening to their own constituents of color?! But please vote, vote, vote them out.

On to the quizzionnaire; link up here to play along:


Saturday 9: The Rain, The Park, and Other Things (1967)

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

1) The Cowsills were a family band who had three hit singles. Can you name another group of popular singing siblings?

I don't know why, but I first thought of the Neville Brothers: Aaron, Art, Charles, Cyril, & Ivan. And I know it wasn't performed as a group act, but the first thing I thought of was Aaron Neville singing, "Don't Know Much" with Linda Ronstadt. Always a classic.

2) This was their first hit, and it reached #2 on the Billboard charts. It was kept out of the #1 slot by the Monkees and "Daydream Believer." What's your favorite Monkees song?

It would probably be either Daydream or the Monkees Theme Song; I remember watching a lot of that on, I think, Mtv in the 80s!

3) After seeing the Cowsill brothers perform with their mother and sister, TV producers were inspired to create the sitcom, The Partridge Family. Did you ever watch it?

Amazon.com: Watch The Partridge Family Season 2 | Prime Video

Uhh, not intentionally, ever. I think that's one of those things that it was on while I was in the room plenty of times, but I never sat down and put it on or kept it on intentionally. One or more of my sisters certainly did, though, and I was bottom of the pecking order so I never had a say.

4) In the song, the narrator takes a flower from a girl in the park. Are there flowers in your home right now?

Real Touch Flowers Centerpiece-Faux Floral Arrangement image 5

There's not. We rarely have fresh flowers in the house. I did tell my husband I'd rather have live plants growing outside than cut ones displayed inside way back when we got married, but there's another element here. We have so many animal companions in the house, and each species may encounter some danger depending on which plants and flowers we have in the house. The risk of a bad combo along with the time and care we already devote to taking proper care of the animals means that we don't often have the opportunity for plants. I hope to change that soon, and I've been doing my research. In the meantime, this faux tulip bouquet I found in the Etsy shop ACdecorshop, would be really at home here.

5) He isn't sure if the girl was real, or if he dreamed her. Tell us about a recent dream you had.

Astronaut Kathy Sullivan Becomes First Woman to Reach Challenger ...

The PTSD medicine I take, prazosin, keeps me from perceiving my dreams at all - good and bad. So I'll throw a shout-out to former astronaut-cum-oceanographer Kathy Sullivan. She's gone to space and has now recently gone to Challenger Deep, the deepest part of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean (near Guam!). And then these two surfaced and called the ISS! Many exciting firsts for her; that is the real dream.

6) At the height of the Cowsills' popularity, they were hired by the American Dairy Association to promote drinking milk. If we were to peek into your refrigerator right now, would we find any milk?

Got Plant Milk? 9 Dairy-Free Milks to Try - TryVeg

Yes. My teenagers haven't bought into the the whole vegan/vegetarian movement despite my aggressive parenting in that direction, so I usually buy them half a dozen gallons of cow's milk at a time. I usually have a few different kinds of vegan milk - as above - for myself, but what I have been able to eat lately myself is really limited. And that ain't it.

7) After the band stopped performing together, John Cowsill went on to become a back up musician for the Beach Boys. His job has kept him on the road much of the time. When you travel, do you enjoy staying in hotels, or would you rather stay with friends/family?

Ham Yard Hotel: Unexpected Design | JustElite

We've done both many times. I prefer to stay in a hotel, especially since we're usually traveling with kids and sometimes even the dogs. It saves money to stay with friends and family, sure, but when you're tired and want to retreat for a while, you're still there! Sometimes I just need a break from being "on."

8)  In 1967, the year this song was popular, Elvis married Priscilla in Las Vegas. Have you attended any weddings yet this year? Are there any weddings in your future?

Fresh Ideas And Wedding Trends 2020 | Wedding Forward

No weddings. I feel pretty bad for anyone having a wedding or any big milestone event in 2020. Everything is just wrecked. You can only do so much on Zoom.

9) Random question: Are the bottoms of your feet ticklish?

Mehndi designs on the soles of your feet - Simple Craft Ideas

That's the most ticklish spot on my very ticklish body. Shh! Don't tell the kids. And please don't ever henna-tattoo my soles. I can't even tolerate a pedi!


Thanks for stopping by, y'all.

Now I've got to stop watching "Next in Fashion" on Netflix and help my son choose some new glasses online. This should be fun...

Be kind to each other.


Sunday Stealing: The Sassiest Questions

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

The first five questions are stolen from blogger Emily Rosenbaum at Wheels on a Bus. She explains she grabbed it from Lola's blog, and since Lola "is the sassiest of mamas" so we took that name from Emily's questions. The final five questions were ripped from Midlife Mama from the blog Midlife Musings. She stole it from her "dear friend" over at Midlife Slices where it was originally written. We do hope that you had a great week. If anyone has some questions that they'd like us to use please email Bud at [email protected] Please "like" us on Facebook!

Cheers to all of us thieves!

Sunday Stealing: The Sassy Questions

1. If you could say anything you wanted to say to Donald Trump, what would you say?

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Seriously. Seriously, now, how does it feel to have fucked up the entire political scheme of the United States of America? How does it feel to have stolen the Presidency and be voiding everything the previous (wonderful) president, Obama, has done as far as Progressive progress in so many areas of society? How does that feel? How does it feel to have colluded with Russia to fuck up not only the Executive Branch, but also the Legislative Branch of our federal government, as well as now having stolen a seat for life on the Judicial Branch? HOW DOES THAT FEEL?!!! Jackass.

2. If you had to be the mother of Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan, who would you choose and why?

Image result for Britney Spears

I would choose Britney, because I understand her neuroses, I feel. I have been through that, been there, done this all and I understand where she is, where she was, where she has been, and where she has going. All from an outsider's viewpoint, of course, but to me it looks like she is completely getting her shit together and doing what she  needs to do. Lindsay, on the other hand, seems like a lost cause, and though I really did think hard about this question, I feel that as a mother, having a kid who not only is probably a lost cause but also reached that status 100% because of my own actions... I couldn't handle it. I would probably kill myself.

3. You get to be Queen for a day. The kids are all taken care of, and you can spend as much money as you want. What do you do all day?

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I would fix the food system. I would grow the right foods, with none of this Monsanto-Bayer interference bullshit, and I would deliver it properly to all the people. I might enact a 2:1 replacement system for having children, because we are waaaaay overpopulating this planet. And I would grant all the rare and not-so-rare disease investigators all the federal monies needed to fix the various and sundry health issues I am facing, my friends and loved ones are facing, and people I don't know are facing. That may seem contradictory with the overpopulation issue. Don't get me wrong. I could go on about this all day long. But people, as long as they are going to be here, don't necessarily deserve to suffer. And I, for one, am sick of suffering. (And then I might sleep.)

4. Is there a song that brings tears to your eyes every time you hear it? If so, which one?

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"The Day That You Gave Me a Son" by Babyface, because we used it at our son's memorial service. There are a few others...

5. A fairy taps you on the shoulder and tells you that you can either have a perfect face or a perfect body for the rest of your life. Which do you choose?

I'm vain about my face. I'd rather choose the perfect face than be a Butterface, I think. I don't want to be a meme.

6. If you could live any place in the world and money was no object, where would you live and why?

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I would live on a beautiful yacht, sailing the ocean blue and visiting all the possible ports of call for the rest of my life. That would be my little slice of Heaven.

7. What is your biggest regret in life?

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If I couldn't save my son's life, which I tried and could not personally accomplish, then it would be that I did not get my two sons, my identical twin boys, together for any pictures. That absolutely breaks my heart.

8. If you could go back and visit one person in your life who is now dead, and ask one question, what would that question be and why would you ask it?

Today is the 33rd anniversary of my mother's death - at age 33. She left behind my bewildered, befuddled dad, and my nearly 9-year-old sister and 7.5-year-old me. I would ask her why she chose not to seek medical help when it was clear she needed it, and I would ask her that because it started the domino effect that basically fucked up my entire childhood and, therefore, adulthood. Sorry, but it's true.

9. If you had the choice to age forward (like we are now) or aging backwards (think Benjamin Buttons) which would you choose and why?

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I think I would try the reverse aging method, because right now, getting older is for the birds!!

10. What will the epitaph on your headstone say?

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That about sums it up! ;)


Thanks for stopping by!


Saturday 9: Sorry

Hey Beliebers and non-Beliebers ! Link up here if you want to play along with this fun Q & A!


Saturday 9: Sorry (2015)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here

1) This song is a plea for a second chance. Are you good at forgiving/forgetting?

I feel like I just answered this here in this space recently. Since I'm kind of doped up on pain relieving medications at the moment (forgive any typos or inappropriate remarks, as it's taking all my effort to make this post sensible), I'm glad to not have to think too hard about my answer! YES, I do forgive and forget easily on one condition: the offender has to acknowledge the problem, take responsibility for her/his part, and genuinely apologize. Otherwise, NO.

And yes, the image I posted above is random, but it was so funny I wanted to keep it... ;)

2) Justin asks his girl to "forget this." What have you done/said recently that you wish could just be forgotten?

Oh, everything. Literally, everything I say or do. I'm a neurotic mess, and I know I am so annoying to people. Hubs loves me and accepts me the way I am, and that's a big part of why I married him. Other people, I feel, really just don't like me. And that's saying it nicely...

3) Mr. Bieber says he needs just 6 hours sleep every night. How about you? How much sleep do you require to feel sharp?

Part of being a night owl neurotic mess is that I'm also an insomniac. I honestly don't know how much sleep I require, because my sleep so erratically. I have no clue. It could be four or five hours, or it could be 10+!

4) Justin prefers D&G underwear, which can cost as much as $102/pair. Sam may be crazy, but there's no way she'd spend that much on underwear. What's something you're willing to splurge on?

also have OCD, so I'm SO complicated and fun (said no one ever), and one of the things that I'm OCD about is my skin. It has to be well-moisturized and extremely soft, clean, and well, perfect, or I can't function. Seriously, I just cannot even. So I splurge on my skincare products from JAFRA, using our Pro line as well as the (actual) gold-infused supplemental products. And my skin is... yeah. It's good.

5) He may be picky about underwear but not cuisine. He loves Big Macs. If we were going to McDonald's, what would you order?

I'd really rather not, but on the odd occasion where I haven't gotten groceries yet, and I'm super pressed for time and stuff, I'll swing through the McDs drive-thru lane and order a 20-piece McNuggets (maybe more) for the rest of Team Odette to pass around, large fries (I like the long, squishy ones; they can have the rest) for everyone, and probably a Coke for Rob.

6) When it comes to healthier fare, Bieber has told fans he enjoys snacking on bananas and grapes. What do you reach for between meals?

I'm definitely a grazer, so there is no in-between meals. I'll have a slightly hungry moment between sips of whatever I'm drinking at the moment (I have to constantly be drinking something or I'll dehydrate, thanks to my gastric bypass surgery) and wander into the kitchen for something. I'll eat a piece of cheese, or a banana, or hummus... Ooh, thanks for the reminder, I want to make some hummus up tonight!

7) Performing in Germany, Justin Bieber told a girl who approached the stage, "Ich liebe dich” ("I love you") and she fainted. Have you ever fainted?

The first time I fainted, that I know of, was in choir in 8th grade. We were all standing on risers, singing our little hearts out, and boom, from the second or third riser up, down I went onto the floor. Our choir director, with whom I'm now good friends with on Facebook, actually sort of sarcastically corrected me for not singing and standing up! I did not respond, so they got me up and rushed me to the nurse's office. I can't count how many times I have passed out since then.

8) As a kid, Justin was teased for being one of the shortest in his class. What do you recall being teased about in school?

In school, I was ridiculed for being smart. I was quite the nerd. Definitely not "popular." I was teased for years in the classes I had to take that were not Honors or AP classes. I'm not bitter about it, though; I think I'm over it. However, I'm still very self-conscious and self-aware when I'm in public situations. I'm paranoid that people are always laughing and talking about me. I hate it.

9) Random question: Will you be watching this weekend's Super Bowl?

LOL! If I do watch Super Bowl 50, it will probably just be for the commercials. I don't care about either team, and I couldn't really care less about professional American football. Meh.


Well that's it! Thanks for stopping by. And if you did, and you read this whole thing, then I want to tell you something. You've maybe been reading this blog for Saturday 9s for a while, and mabye Sunday Stealing, too. And you may know that I've been sick for months and have been really bad about replying back on your blog to your Sat9 and Sunday Stealing posts, though I've been promising to do just that. I have to apologize. I really am sorry. Truly. But I'm getting exponentially sicker, and I'm not taking things even day by day anymore.

Now it's hour by hour, and sometimes minute by minute. It's killing me. Literally, I honestly feel like I am going to die and they will figure out what's wrong with my autopsy. I have yet another doctor appointment on Monday, and I am trying to get in with an Infectious Diseases specialist here in Miami to get things figured out. I think it's mold, which I've been jokingly suggesting to Hubs since the beginning of this. Now I think it's forreal, folks. Gah. If you pray, please pray; if you don't, please think good thinks and said positive vibes, juju, or whatever our way. Thank you. Peace out.



January '16 Wrap-Up


Black-and-white portrait of the man I love, Robert Allen Odette

So, I haven't blogged as much this infant year as I had planned, because I became even sicker than I had been all throughout the latter half-plus of 2015. That sucked. Basically, I had my iron infusion chemotherapy on December 21st and 28th, and I did not react well to it. I had a semi-kinda-fake-it-'til-you-make-it rally on New Year's Eve, when we went to South Beach for the big par-tay. And then I rested a whole bunch on New Year's Day, before we drove up to Orlando on the 2nd of January to celebrate Rob's and my 15th wedding anniversary.

Well. That sucked. That was actually for a mystery shopping assignment and fun though it was, I almost did not make it home. I had to stop and rest several times along the way, once for several hours, because I was in excruciating pain again. I never did complete that report. That was a Sunday.

By Tuesday, I was calling my father and my BFF, "Dr. Lisa," to say my good-byes. No, I did not call my sister yet at that time, because I knew she would rush down if I told her that I needed her to come help with the kids and Rob after my demise, and I was hoping for a Hail Mary.

Well, obviously, I got my Hail Mary! We still aren't sure what happened yet, because my ER lab results and my primary care doctor are calling it iron toxicity from an overdose of the chemo, but my hem/oncologist swears that I received the correct dose. So, I have no idea, other than that my death definitely seemed imminent but was clearly averted.

Whew. Anyway!

I spent a ridiculous amount of time lying on the couch recovering from that episode. I felt like I got NOTHING accomplished for the whole month other than recuperating. I did, however, manage to take a bunch of pictures of stuff, and lo and behold, as I discovered last night, that means I actually did stuff worthy (at least to me, so, good enough folks!) of that photography. I'm going to share it all here because, uh, that's kinda the purpose of this interwebular space, amirite?


Black-and-white profile of my sleeping beauty, Sophia Lorelei


This is from the 8th of January, when Sophia was feeling poorly from a yucky cold virus, and I was feeling poorly from all the aforementioned whatever-the-feck. We were lying together on Rob's lap, if you can discern his camouflage trousers in my sepia tones. A selfie? I asked. Of course, she responded. Snap


I rarely wear jeans, and never wear boots - certainly not leather ones - so when Rob pulled out my man-made pleather knee-highs from the depths of our closet, I decided to go for it and rock the cowgirl look at one of Sophia's showjumping lessons. Or something. No stetson atop my head, though. The big accomplishment here, though, is that I was up and about, ready to attend her lessons again!


That night, I felt like crap again and learned that my recovery would not come all at once but in slow bursts and small backslides each day and night. I rested and kvetched about how miserable I was... so much so that my awesome hubs asked what he could do to make my awful night better. Five minutes later, he was giving me his first pedicure. Not a bad job, either!

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Puppy love from Otterbox (Otto von Dieter) and the Doodle (Paco)


Rob and I, starting our 16th year of wedding bliss, are connecting on a whole 'nother level lately. Our marriage has had some really high highs and some really low lows, but right now we are absolutely soaring. It takes work, every day, absolutely. But we are both crazier about each other now than when we first began this story of true love.

January 2016

Rob and Jack both received NERF guns from Grandpa Al & Grandma Denise (thanks, y'all!) for Christmas, and Jack received several more from Ye Olde Maw an' Paw, so the boys were thirsting for an old-fashioned (water) gun fight! Okay, so that wasn't truly an accomplishment of mine, per se, but at least I got up off my duff and out the door to take some piccies!


On Wednesday, my neighbor drove Sophia and me to see my hem/oncologist. Sophia had a lesson right afterward, and I could not drive. The visit went well, I had blood drawn, blah blah blah. Afterward, our vecino, Frank, insisted us taking to the Sports Grille next door for a bite to eat before her lesson. Selfie time for me and Sophie!


And here's that neighbor, Frank, with me watching Sophia's lesson that day. He absolutely loved watching her ride Buddy. Frank clapped and cheered, and he called her a champion! It was really fun watching it through his fresh eyes, and it's true. On Wednesday, Sophie really did an amazing job!



Sophia walking Buddy to get saddled up


Buddy doesn't like to get his riding gear on, and he gets a little nippy. Once ridden, though, he's a gentle giant. He loves Sophia, though - and that might be due in no small part to her bringing him a treat at the beginning and end of each lesson!

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Sophia had achievements in January, too. She and buddy jumped together for the first time, and she got up to a canter, too! Way to go, kiddo!



It looks so freeing...


This is the only picture I have gotten of Sophie and Buddy jumping so far, but there been many perfect jumps since then. Gosh, I'm so proud of how far she's come in just four short months!


Sweet sign made by one of the other 'horsey moms'



Craftiness happened this month, too. I was bound and determined not to let the extreme pain in all my joints stop me from doing what I really love and find so calming: knitting. So... I started with this top for myself (and yes, some champagne might have been involved in a few mishaps there):


But, they're fixable.


I'm pretty happy with it, even though I would do a Small instead of a Medium next time, and extend the belly ribbing so it covers more of my, uh, mommy pooch... lol. But it's good. I might even wear it out one day?!


All the kids got onboard with Mommy knitting again, and all have asked for projects for themselves. We had a bit of a cold snap there, and Sophie already loves gloves and mittens, so together we picked out a pattern that's a combo of both.


Meet Tatiana. Yes, there are booboos and it's a bit tight, but my fingers are out of practice and frankly, my eyes just don't see as well anymore! But Sophie is happy and that's what matters. Now to work on the bottom halves some...

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Speaking of craftiness, Jack and Sophia received their Tinker and Doodle Crates for the month, respectively. Their arrival is always a fun day.

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For Jack's project, he had to build a gravity game. He really enjoys doing the Tinker Crates along with the YouTube videos for each one, so his tablet was trotted out for the assist.

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I told Jack that if he could get the ball into the 50-point hole at the end, he could have a day off from Math work. Guess who had the next day off from Math?!

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Sophia's project was about Watercolor Painting, which is something she knows and loves.

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She had to learn about color gradients, which was new and challenging for her. And then she painted some dishes, including my FiestaWare, which, um... was NOT okay with me!!! (But now I can laugh. A bit.)


For a bit more craftiness, Sophia fashioned these awesome sandals out of fallen palm fronds. I got a kick out of it!


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I needed a lot of help to get out to Bee Heaven Farm this month, which is where we get our weekly CSA shares, but Rob, Sophia, and Frank were happy to help me get there and get our box of fresh, local, organic goods!


You know what fresh food means? Cooking. This first dish, I went pretty simple: Salad. I wilted the kale first and did a stir-fry with some watermelon radish, some kind of pepper I forget the name of, and then just threw it together with pecans and shredded Colby Jack. Meh, it was all right, but Rob had to finish my dose portion.


A made-up dish: fried egg with (also-fried) French Couscous, topped with a conglomerate of stir-fried veggies from Bee Heaven Farm. And Spanish peanuts. I guess I was going for a whole fusion thing? I dunno, but it was tasty.


Kitchen Sink Mashed Potatoes

I don't think any of this was comfort food fare was from the farm, but that's okay. During my recuperation from the chemo debacle, I ate and ate and ate like a mofo! I've never eaten so much in the seven years post-op. And I still lost weight! It was cray-cray. Anyway, I used to make this in my poverty-ridden days as a vegetarian college student: loaded mashed potatoes. I add corn, sautéed Vidalia onions, cheese (I loves me some cheesy goodness), garlic... and all kindsa' salt, pepper, milk and butter. Mmm. So. Freaking. Good!


I made Ethiopian food for the first time ever! This vegan Gomen Wat was soooo good, I ate like five platefuls. Okay, maybe six? I'm definitely going to make it again. And no, I didn't serve it on a beautious bed of injera, because... um. Because and that's why.

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Southwestern Chili Mac


Chloë wanted to hone her cooking chops in the kitchen with me one night when I was too manic to cook, so I somewhat crazily guided her through the recipe from Hello Fresh for Butternut Squash and Sage Risotto with Feta and Pepitas. She somehow, despite my sabotage, managed to pull off a stellar dish! Rob and I inhaled the goodness she made. Way to go, Chlo!


Sophia wanted to join her sister in preparing a meal the kids would actually eat, and she lovingly put together a vermicelli and sauce dinner for the three of them. (There was supposed to be garlic bread too, but Mom forgot to keep reminding her to check the oven and, well, I'm just glad we didn't burn the house down.) Well done, ladies! ♥


I baked a scrummy loaf of bread, nothing fancy but tasty as all-get-out.


Jack and the girls pal around with the neighborhood kids, so one day while they held yet another NERF gun fight, I baked them up some peanut butter cookies to share with their friends. That plate came back EMPTY. Go, Mom. (Yes, I did diligently check for allergies first.)


Plátanos fritos

 I had never fried plantains before, in all my years of living in South Florida, though I sure have enjoyed eating my share of them! We did a quickie grocery trip to Publix and talked about making our own, at which point I just thought, Why not now? Some super-green plantains, a bunch of kosher salt, and a healthy squeeze of lemon, et voilá! Talk about tasty. I'll definitely be doing that again!


One week, our CSA box came with two of the most beautiful, juicy red grapefruits you ever wished to have. Oh. Em. Gee. (NO accomplishment here, I just wanted to drool over it some more. Moving on...)


I had planned on making these Honeyed Butternut Squashes from the CSA box myself, but after chopping up two good-sized gourds, I was petered out. Rob had to finish the cooking for me himself, and he did an amazeballs job. They ended up too sweet for my grumpy pouch, Oscar, and I experienced a lot of Dumping Syndrome. But I swear, I would've eaten them all if I could have!

January 2016-001

And lastly - but surely not least - on the cooking front, I made some of my favorite Artisanal Rustic Pizzas. The dough recipe comes from a back issue of Martha Stewart Living but the toppings are my creation. The kids don't like my fanciful ideas, so I made them a plain cheese-and sauce one. Only, we only had cheddar in the house and no sauce, so I had to improvise and make some sauce from scratch. Jack didn't care for it - he's no cheese fan (tha' heck?!) - but the girls devoured every last piece of Pizza #1.

Pizza #2 was the same but with a bunch of roasted organic scallions from the BHF CSA box on top. I unvented a different homemade sauce for that one. Rob is lucky he had any of that one, because I snatched up every last piece after he had his share!

Pizza #3 was way more unconventional: a third different homemade sauce, using torn-up fresh organo from the CSA box. Cheddar cheese, natch. And for toppers? I threw on chopped walnuts, pea sprouts from BHF, capers, and a drizzle of honey. I didn't think I would like that. My scale says the opposite! (Rob loved it, also.)

Whew. Now I'm getting hungry!



Random January blooms in the neighborhood


Rob and I were startled to find Jack, Sophia, and a neighborhood boy carrying a box with this "abandoned" duckling in it one day. They insisted its mother had left it and gone swimming with the rest of her brood. Of course, I had my camera with me. They took the ducky out of its box, I snapped a picture or two, and then... he waddled off, like a bat out of hell! Ahaha. So much for being helpless.


Here, leezard, leezard... 

Just an anole visitor who ran away from me at the horse farm after I let out a belly-bursting sneeze

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Lest you were thinking you'd get away from me without sharing some puppy pix... heeeeere's PACO! ♥

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Otterbox is really a beautiful GSD, but he's hard to photograph well sometimes. Anyway, this month, Robert declared that he has chosen ME as "his person," which about blew my heart up with joy. Our previous German Shepherd, Tiger Lily, was supposed to be my dog, but she chose Rob for her person. The exact opposite happened this time. And I love Otty-bot soooo much. He was a bit of trouble at first, but now he is just the most fun, loving, sweet thing, and I'm glad he is a part of our wackadoodle family!

And that's about it for the round-up! Here's another cookie, if you read the whole danged thing.


Sunday Stealing: The 2015 Year-End Meme

Stealing today? Link up here to join the rest of us!


The 2015 Year End Meme

From the archives!


  1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before? 
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In October, when we went up to Missouri to visit my in-laws, I took my son Jack and went to visit my father-in-law in his hotel room. For about two hours, we had a couple of beers together and talked, laughed, and really related for the first time in 15 years. It was pretty freaking great. I will cherish that time.

Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

My only resolution for 2015 that I can even remember (I usually make a few) was to look things up more. I have always historically delegated that task to Hubs, so much so that in years past I dubbed him "Look-it-up Boy." Except when I haven't been able to do it, like when I'm driving or something, I've actually kept this resolution pretty well and have been looking shit up all by my big grown-up self this year. I know. I'm so proud of myself.

I'm still chewing on what to make my main goal for 2016. I promise it'll be just as huge.

  1. Did anyone close to you give birth?
  2. My amazing friend Erin had her first baby, Alden, with her husband Brian in March. I'm still ecstatic for her. Alden is nine months old today, and he's just the most beautiful wee boy!

  3. Tell us a valuable lesson you learned in 2015?
  4. 463c82c521c6050e96372579821bb6ee
  5. I have no filter. I'm a blurter. I say whatever the hell comes into my brain, sometimes before I know it's there. I swear, my tongue has a mind of its own, with no connection to the actual brain up there. SO... sometimes this gets me in serious trouble, as you can imagine. After nearly four decades of living, I am finally starting to learn to shut the f*** up. It's VERY hard for me.

  6. What was your favorite new TV program?

I really don't take the time to just sit on the couch and watch television, except for my week-nightly date with Hubs to watch Jeopardy! and, on Thursday nights, The Big Bang Theory with Chloë. I have too much of nothing else to do. Ha!

  1. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?


  1. Better control of our family finances. We've never been good at that.
    1. What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
    2. DSC_0030
    3. Maybe this past Wednesday, December 23rd. We decided to bite the bullet and lease a horse for Sophia. She's taking English riding lessons and really seems to connect with Buddy. We'll be spending lots of time at the stables in 2016!

    4. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
    5. I really did not feel well for the better part of the year, and so my achievement list is woefully short. However, there were a few times when my family, my kids, really needed me to power through those tough times and be Super Mom. And I did. I managed to do what they needed me to do, despite feeling like utter crap. So I'll give myself a quick pat on the back for that.

    6. What was your biggest failure?

    I signed on to become a Master Knitter, about this time last year. Ohhh, that was one of my other 2015 Resolutions. Yeah, I accomplished exactly zero things toward that goal. Fecking health problems!

    1. What was the best thing you bought?
    2. 20150813_175851

    In August, my dad took a nosedive, and it scared me half to death. Our relationship has had a lot of problems, but he's my only living parent, and I love the old fartacus. He wasn't buying any food and therefore wasn't eating any. Nothing. We pretty much flew up to South Carolina, where I promptly bought half the food at ALDI (first-timer there) and cooked for days to stock up old-man-size portions in his freezer. He's been raving about the food ever since, and I am SO happy that he's eating at least!

    1. Whose behavior merited celebration?
    2. DSC_0034
    3. I'm seriously proud of all my kids, but I'm going to give this one to 10-year-old Sophia Lorelei. As the baby of the family, she is not the one used to being in charge of anyone, or anything, else. And we have tried various athletic pursuits with her, because she is an active girl and needs an outlet, to no avail. So when I got this Groupon for the riding lessons, I could see something in her right from the start. There was a new determination, a new drive to succeed that I had not seen in her previously. She did not have the ability to control a horse when she started, of course, and these are very large, sometimes determinedly stubborn
    4. animals. Not only did Sophia learn the basics of how to ride a horse in the latter months of the year, but she found something within herself that showed her the way to be firm, speak up, and take charge of a situation new to her. Way to go, girl!

    5. Whose behavior made you appalled and disgusted?
    6. Oh Em Gee, Donald Trump. Seriously, people, this guy could be our next flippin' President?!! You all have got to be out of your ever-lovin' minds to support this mother-freaking jackhole.

    7. What song will always remind you of 2015?


    1. Probably "Wildest Dreams" by Taylor Swift. My 14-year-old, Chloë Raine, is a huge Swiftie. Last Christmas, we gifted her with tickets to T-Swizzles' Miami concert here at the end of October. When the night finally arrived, my girl was beside herself. Absolutely beside herself with excitement. That had to have been her Best Night Ever (at least of 2015), and I'm thrilled I was able to be there with her.

    2. What do you wish you’d done more of?

    Math with my homeschooled crew. Seriously. Math. With my being sick, structured schooling time was a little less... structured... and Math is what we got a little more behind in than I'm proud to admit. We will absolutely be doing more Math in 2016. Heads-up, chirren!

    1. What do you wish you’d done less of?
    2. IMG_20151221_084043

    Sitting in effing doctors' offices, being traded around from specialist to specialist, giving way too much of my precious blood to find out WTF is wrong with me, and getting no real answers. That sucked. SUCKED, I say!

    1. What was the best book you read?

    The best book, hands-down, was Preston and Child's Relic. I have the next four or five books in the Agent Pendergast series to read next, and I just haven't taken the time to dig into them. There, that's one Resolution for 2016 on the list.

    1. What one thing would have made your year measurably more satisfying?
    2. Seeing a new place I haven't seen before... I really want to go to Cuba or somewhere I have not been yet in the Caribbean, because it's nearby and way more economic for us. Dominican Republic, Haiti, Saba! Rob, honey, are ya with me on the next plane?

    3. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

    From Lean On by Major Lazer:

    "What will we do when we get old?
    Will we walk down the same road?
    Will you be there by my side?
    Standing strong as the waves roll over

    All we need is somebody to lean on
    All we need is somebody to lean on..."


    Rob is my somebody to lean on, and I'm lucky enough to have three more proven up-and-comers to help out when I really need help. Thank you, Family of Mine. Thank you.


    And thank you all, too, for coming by here and reading these posts of mine that go off into the ether after I hit "Publish." I know I'm not the best Visit-Back Blogger lately, but that will be another Resolution for my 2016 list. I'm gonna work on it.


Saturday 9: Kentucky Rain

Link up here if you want to play along with this awesome meme, too!

Next Thursday, the 8th would be Elvis' 80th birthday, so we're celebrating The King. Here is this week's song.

1. In this song, Elvis hitchhikes across Kentucky. Have you ever hitched a ride?
No, I don't believe I have, though I have picked up a couple. Shame, shame, everybody knows my name!

2. Elvis received his first guitar for his 11th birthday, even though he'd asked his parents for a bicycle. As an adult, how often do you ride a bike? 
I have a bike. It is parked near our front door. I've ridden it maybe two or three times. Um... yeah. Time to remedy that!

3. When Elvis was a child, his family was very poor, often living in rooming houses or public housing. His classmates teased him for being "trashy," which left him shy. Were you more shy or outgoing as a kid?
Definitely shy. I remember clinging behind my mom's legs when we would visit people she knew, and her being unable to coax me out. I still feel like doing that sometimes!

4. While in high school, Elvis mowed neighbors' lawns with a push mower and a sickle. According to The Home Depot, one of today's most popular mowers is a gas-powered Cub Cadet with a self-mulching feature. Tell us about your lawn mower.
It's electric (boogie woogie woogie!), but we have never used it. And our lawn proves this fact. I have never mown a lawn in my life, and Hubs is currently unable to do it, so... I guess it's about damn time I figure it out!

5. In the 1950s, Frank Sinatra dismissed Elvis as, "deplorable." Yet by the time of Elvis' death, he had revised his opinion and said, "Elvis was the embodiment of the whole American culture." Tell us about something or someone you changed your mind about.
Mostly parenting stuff. If I had it to do over again, I would have used cloth diapers instead of disposable, and I would not have had our living son circ'ed...

6. After Elvis was discharged from the Army, his first performance was on a Sinatra TV special, sponsored by Timex. Do you wear a watch? 
Nope. My Samsung Galaxy S5 (my verysmartphone) serves as my timepiece. I can't really wear a watch, since I have allergic contact dermatitis.

7. Coinciding with Elvis' 80th birthday, there will be an auction of Presley-related memorabilia at his home in Graceland. One item up for bid is a plush toy he gave to an Army buddy's wife in 1958 for the baby she was expecting. Do you know anyone who is looking forward to a baby in 2015?
Yes!! My very good friend Erin, whom I adore, is having her first baby. I have waited a long time for this to happen (as has she, I'm guessing?), so I am SOOOO excited. My only sad thing is that she's in New York, way the hell far away from me in Miami. So... I will have to love baby boy B from afar!

8. None of the items being sold at the Graceland auction actually belonged to Elvis at the time of his death. Everything left to daughter Lisa Marie remains in her possession. Do you have something you cherish that was given to you by a close relative?
Yes, I have my mother's costume jewelry, which my dad gave to me last year. I can still remember her wearing some of the pieces, which is pretty cool since I was really young when she died. I cherish those.

9. The US Postal service sold more than 500 million of the Elvis commemorative stamp. According to the Census Bureau, that was two stamps each for every man, woman and child in the United States. When is the last time you visited the post office?

Friday. Ugh, I had scheduled a package pick-up, but I got a notification that the postal worker (who is NOT my favorite person on the planet, y'all) did the pickup, when in fact she actually had not. So I had to drive the packages down to the Post Office. I know, I know... #FirstWorldProblems!

Thanks for stopping by!


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.


 ... 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.



Music Monday: I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself

"I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself" by The White Stripes

So this is a new meme for me. It's (and you may have already figured this out, oh, brilliant you) "Music Monday," and it's hosted by this quintuple (?!?) threat:


Callie of Jamerican Spice;


Stacy Uncorked;

 Reading Challenge Addict

X-Mas Dolly;


Cathy of Cathy Kennedy's Blog; and,

Naila Moon of Just The Stuff Ya Know.

* * *

So I just found out about this blog hop about a half-hour ago, and I've been poking around, trying to figure out exactly what I'm supposed to be doing and... I'm still not quite entirely totally a hundred percent sure I'm doing it right!

I think there are supposed to be themes, but I don't know where to find the current one. I think you can go theme-less and pick what you want, for whatever is relevant to your life at the moment, however, and so that is what I am choosing to do!

* * * * *

You may think that is why I have chosen The White Stripes' song for my Music Monday tune this week, but no. You would be wrong.

I've mentioned about, oh, three or four times in the past just-as-many posts that Rob (aka, the Husbeast) is back in the hospital.

{For those of you new to Smellyann's Blahg, here's a super-quick back story: Rob was diagnosed with a cavernous hemangioma a couple of years ago. It's benign and was asymptomatic until this past May. He developed myriad symptoms, which led to five Cyberknife Radiation Surgeries in June/July. A couple of weeks ago, the site started bleeding, and swelling was pressing into the 'good' brain tissue. He's been on a heavy course of steroids since then, but yesterday - Sunday, September 29th - saw him landing back in the Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit for the third time this month with more symptoms. Now you're caught up! Read more here.}

Now, when this happens, I get energized, generally speaking. I've gotten tons of housework, knitting, running around, take-chargey-ness done on the prior hospital stays, and this time I expected no different.

Except, it is. It's different.

I don't know what it is, or why, but I'm just unable to figure out what to do with myself while Rob is gone.

For once, I'm not scared he's going to die, so that's not it. I have complete faith he'll be fine and coming home in a few days as planned.

I have tons of stuff to actually do, so lack of plans is not prohibiting me from being productive. It's payday, rent is due, food needs to be shopped for and prepared and served to our three kiddos, I need to homeschool that trio, I have lots of knitting to do, and so on and so forth. No, I've no shortage of duties now.

So what? What is it that's keeping me from focusing?!

I tried to clean up the kitchen, but I cut my thumb (not intentionally, I promise) and assigned that task to Jack instead.

I tried to do the laundry, but I kept mixing up dirty and clean, and well, that's just no good, so I delegated that job to Chloë.

I tried to straighten up the living room, but I found myself totally unable to figure out what the heck to actually do, so I requested Sophia as a replacement.

I ran out of kids after that, so I stopped trying. Mostly. I have taken no fewer than four (FOUR!) baths - two to wash, two just to soak and sit there, reading a magazine - in the past 12 hours. And then the tub got funky, so I scrubbed that and, while I was in the throes of spraying cleanser, the toilet. One of our cats kept running up and down the length of the sink counter to watch me, so I left that alone. No sense killing the poor fuzzmonster, after all.

* * * * * * * *

But mostly, I've come back here, blahgged on this page, read emails that I never answered, looked at Facebook, and just... sat here. Doing nothing. Saying not much. Thinking... everything. I miss him. Plain and simple, I MISS HIM.

Please don't  - DON'T - do the whole, "Oh, it could be worse. He could be in [insert war-torn foreign country here]. He could be divorcing you. He could be dead. Get over yourself. Blah blah blah."

Yeah, I know.

But you know what? I see people do that to each other every single day on Facebook, and I can not, for the love of all that is fresh and juicy, stand it one bit. My friends do it to me, their friends do it them... why?

For one thing, it's not helpful. At all. It just serves to make the person having feelings feel guilty for having them!

For another, it's mean!

I could go on with what it is, but let's stop there because that's not where this post was supposed to be going. Just don't do it, m'kay? I know, I'm not stupid, I have feelings, I'm occasionally rational, and whatever. I don't care. I'm entitled to miss the man I love with all my heart while he's not home with me, where he should be. For whatever reason that is.

In the end, I'll go visit him, we'll talk to his neurosurgeon, his radiologist/oncologist (whose name I am forever getting wrong, but he's probably used to it), a billion nurses, ten more nurse's aides, the cafeteria lady who hates me because I have no cash EVER and somehow using a debit card is stealing from her paycheck (huh?!), the guy at the front desk who checks my ID and issues my visitor pass, the guy at the garage window who takes my six bucks for daily parking, nineteen people my kids annoy in the elevators... and if you've been to a huge hospital in a major city before, you know this drill.

And then he'll come home. And we'll try to resume normal life. Which for us, is anything but normal, but you know.

I think, what I'm most worried about right now, after thinking about this, is that it won't end here. This won't be the last visit. He'll go back in two weeks, or a month, or even in March, but he will go back. Won't he?

I don't know.  

And in the meantime... what do I do with myself?! Without him?




An Open Letter Of Thanks To #Campbells

Dear Campbells,

I tweeted you on Twitter recently about my experience at a local Publix grocery store about a month ago: I had purchased some Campbell's soups, and when I got home to open one of them (because broccoli cheese soup is YUM), it was gross and moldy inside.

Someone from your company promptly responded to my tweet, with an offer to make it right if I'd message back with my mailing address. So, of course, I did, though I'd already gotten my dollar back for the soup and no one was hurt in the process.

I didn't really know what to expect, but what I got in the mail was three $2 coupons and one $1 coupon for any items in the Campbell's family of products.

I was extremely grateful for the $7 in Campbell's products, and I want you to know why.  I was able to go to Walmart a day or two later and get a carton of Swanson chicken broth, two Homestyle cans of Campbell's soup, and a can of Cream of Chicken condensed soup. Not only did I get this for free, but I got change back since Walmart allows overage (26¢, to be exact).

Why did this mean so much to me? you may be wondering. And I'm going to tell you, so you can understand the extent of my sincerest gratitude.

My husband retired from 20 years of service in the U.S. Navy in May of this year. He went on terminal leave in March, and we moved from Virginia to Florida at that time. He has been searching for a job ever since, here in Florida. We are a family of five, with three kids under 12, so there are plenty of mouths to feed.

Once the Active Duty pay stopped and retirement pay kicked in on June 1, reality hit, and it hit hard.  Military pay rates are available for public knowledge, so if you want to know, look for retirement pay for an enlisted sailor at E6 with 20 years of service.

It's not a lot. It's really paltry, and a little bit shameful and pathetic, if you ask me. But you didn't, so I won't dwell on my feelings about it. Suffice it to say, we can pay our rent but really don't make enough money for anything else. In August, for example, I had exactly $100 to pay for food for the entire month.

In the middle of this current job hunt, my husband's previously-harmless brain tumor started exhibiting symptoms that necessitated several hospital stays and five treatments of Cyberknife Radiation Surgery. He's fine now, thankfully, but it was quite scary there for a while. Our insurance no longer covers co-pays, so we can't afford his follow-up MRI to see how the tumor has changed since the Cyberknife treatments, but we're confident things are going well in that head of his.

This is a long story, I know, but I wanted to tell you all of this to illustrate how very important that simple-to-you-but-not-to-us gesture was, of sending $7 in coupons, during this time of dire need for our family. We are so grateful for your help, since you provided a meal for each of my kids' hungry bellies.

I thank you, and my husband thanks you.



Six Word Saturday


So I haven't done this one in ages, but since I've been largely absent from the blogosphere this summer, I'm making up for it by doing all the memes I can think to join at the moment.

My SIX WORDS for this week, therefore, are:


Yeah, maybe you can hear the frustration in my author-y "voice," because Hubs retired months ago and has been looking for a job - any damn job, he even applied at McDonalds - to support his family. That supposed movement to hire all the retired military vets apparently skipped over us, because of all the applications he's put in, there have been NO bites. And this is a brilliant, highly capable man, folks.

Yeah. I'm stressed.

Anyway, that's it from me for this post. If you have a line on a job, especially one here in South Florida or that will pay SOMETHING, holla, m'kay? Thanks.


Moving Day

I'm moving this blahg, y'all. Seriously! I've been here on Typepad for about 5½ years now, and I've grown disenchanted with all the glitches and stuff.

So, I'm heading over here to Wordpress.

I have NO idea what I'm doing. Help a girl out, wouldja?

That's all I've got right at the mo'. It's just after 0600, after all.

Much, much more to come - you know it.


VLOG: Kids Get Kindles


As I told you a few days ago, I ordered Kindle Fire HDs for each of the kids, along with cases, chargers, a stylus 6-pack, and... I think that's it? They were supposed to come Friday by 8 PM, so at 8:08 PM, when they weren't delivered, I was all over Amazon looking up my order status. It said "delivery attempted," so I was like, "WTF?!" and immediately called up the shipping company. The delivery had apparently been attempted before noon, but no notice was left, and I was pissed. Then they told me I could pick it up on Monday, and I really flipped the script. I literally whined, "NOOOO!!!!" The guy on the phone, who was very calm and sweet, asked me what was in them, since they were obviously so important. I told him, and explained we needed them for our homeschooling, guess what? He understood, because he was homeschooled himself as a lad.

He worked some magic and made it possible for us to go in Saturday morning to pick them up. Rob went with Jack to get them, since I had an atrocious migraine when he woke me up to tell me it was almost 10:00, the appointed pick-up time. Thanks, Baby!

Most of our curriculum is online, except for Math (we use Math-U-See) and Spanish (Rosetta Stone is en route now). Oh, okay, and Art and Music... okay, okay, so only about a third of our curriculum is online, but still, it's a lot, and they all will need to be online at once. One laptop shared amongst three kids really held us back this past year, and we fell way behind where I wanted to be. Three Kindles, the content of which I can control online? Awesomesauce.

If you could see the video above, I think you could tell how excited the kids were about getting them. Even though we're not getting wi-fi until later today and they couldn't get online with them, they haven't put them down for a second, even taking them with them in the car to go mystery shopping with me. Fun, fun. I can't wait to let them really start using them!

Do your kids have tablets? Do y'all have a Kindle? If so, please let me know some great kid apps to put on there! Jack has asked me repeatedly for Angry Birds, so I'll put that of course, so I need other games and educational ones, too. Spanx!


Random Schtuff Taking Up Space In My Brain Right Now

It's 0404 on a Tuesday morning, and I can't sleep - partly because I'm coming off a 5-day migraine in which I slept a TON, and partly because, well, I never sleep at night anyway. And I've got a lot on my mind right now, so prepare ye for a massive, totally random brain dump:


I'm really trying to rev up my Jafra business so that I can promote to Manager later this year. Really bad timing, considering we're going to move soon, but the exciting part is I have K joining my team soon! On the Saturday after next, we're having a Jafra spa party at her place, complete with smelly-good foot soaks, mud masks and way more, and whatever we earn at her party is going in to placing HER first order and getting her case. She's excited, I'm thrilled, and it's going to be a great send-off for me and instantly-built clientele for her. Yay!

Oops, I just realized I have two logos in that picture. Meh. It's a two-fer.


We visited my friend Saritah and her family last week, and we're going again the last week of February - along with Jenny from the Block and her kiddos, whom we haven't seen in ages upon ages. Trés fun! I have presents for both of them, so I hope I don't forget to bring 'em. Plus, Chloë is "in love" with older son Sebastian, and Sophia is "in love" with younger son Trevor, so Saritah and I are planning future double weddings. Sophie and Trevor have even locked themselves in his closet and smooched on the cheek already! What! I have to stop playing with that cute baby up there, Tempe, and pay attention to the rest of those rapscallions!

Recruitment Services Picture 2

(holy huge picture that won't let me scale it down... awesome)

We're supposed to be moving to Miami right around March 1st, and I'm kind of totally freaking out about it, because we are not even remotely ready. Still to do: clean up this house, our rental, so we can move the remaining at-least-half of our crap out of the old house, which we still own, into it; get the old house cleaned up and listed for sale post-haste; set a date for the movers to come; freakin' FIND a place to live in Miami - hello, apartment managers? Returning my phone call and/or email requests for information would be a good thing, 'kay? - and, gosh, that's enough for starters. Rob thinks we won't move in time. I'm stubborn as hell about that March 1 deadline, but I'm starting to agree with him. Cue major sad face.

Oh, and considering each of us is something of a medical marvel, once we do find a place to live, I have about 27 bazillion doctors to find and appointments to make!

I have a cold. Make that aNOTHer cold. Like, my third in 2013. Plus, I'm coming off a five-day migraine (post-publish read-through realization: oh. I told you that already. Meh. It's another two-fer) in which I did a lot of lying around in bed and not much else. With that, moving, building my business and everything else, it's like, WHAT homeschooling?! so far this month. I feel pretty shit-tastic about that. Well, we'll be making up for it by doing lots of school this summer, in between beach visits and dips in the pool. 

Rob's last day in the United States Navy is on Valentine's Day! Squee! We're not having a party, since no one could be bothered to come to his 40th birthday party in August, but don't think we won't be celebrating. Horizonta---um, TMI. ;) He has been counting down the days by telling me how many times left he has to shave, cut his curly locks, press his uniforms, and so on. I think the man is excited, y'all! 

Every Sunday, we have a family meeting. Someone different runs it each time, but the agenda is always the same:

1. Calendar, wherein we go through everyone's plans for the upcoming week,

2. Compliments and appreciation, wherein every person goes around and pays everyone else some C and/or A,

3. Allowance, which is everybody's favorite part,

4. Snack, which almost always involves a drive (for me) to 7-Eleven, and,

5. Fun activity, which for the last two weeks has been a gross-out contest!

Anyway, at this past Sunday's Family Meeting, my #2 for Rob was thanking him for 20 years of service to our country, and congratulating him on his terminal leave, which starts Friday. Chloë responded by throwing her arms around Daddy and sobbing happy tears. It was a very touching moment.

I have been super busy teaching coupon classes this month. So far, I have taught one at the library, 3½ "personal sessions" at various folks' homes, and taken one friend and her daughter on a shopping trip to see how I do it in real life. Total women taught so far: eight! With at least that many more to go before we move. I'm not charging much, either, so the personal satisfaction I get from imparting my money-saving knowledge and helping these women and their families out is what's really paying me. Warm fuzzies all around!


This is just a gratuitous kids-in-the-sun photo, because I like to close with an image. There's more on my mind than all this, but that seems like enough to dump on y'all for the time-being. Can ya keep some good thoughts for us that we'll be able to get out of here and move to Miami as close as possible to our self-imposed deadline? For my sanity's sake? Thanks. Much appreciated.


A HUGE Pain In The Ass


I'm sick, y'all. Very, very sick. Let's just say I'm glad now that I have those Depend Silhouettes, because they're coming in very handy at the moment. To further elaborate, I have to have a flex sig on Tuesday morning to rule out stuff like colon cancer and other such niceties. To put it bluntly, I've been crapping my brains out for a week straight - I've had about 10 accidents, even (all but one at home, thank goodness, and that other one was at Walmart, of all places!) - much like my 3½-week nightmare of December 2011. I'm MISERABLE. I'm hating life. I'm crying, I'm hurting, I'm barely able to eat and am just keeping up with hydration.


It's true. It's how I'm feeling right now. Don't get me wrong, I'm not exactly suicidal... I just want out of this misery!!!


If I post again soon, as planned, it will be much more upbeat. I promise. I just really needed to get that out!


Saturday 9: Our House


Link up here if you're playing along today!

1. When was the last time you moved? Where to?
From Guam to here in Va Beach, VA, coming up on nine years ago now. Crazy!
2. If they were making a Hall of Fame for the blogosphere, name a blogger or two who you think should make the list. Why?
Mrs.4444 at Half Past Kissin' Time, because she's funny, thought-provoking, interesting, and an all-around awesome blogger/person (not that I've met her IRL, but I just get that sense).
3. What are couple of funny things you remember your parents saying? (Like, “They're starving there in China, so finish what you've got.” - John Lennon) Do you say them to your kids?
Not like that, but my dad often talked funny. He frequently called my sister Pinky Lee, and he was always debating which of us was Francie and which of us was Blintzie. When he was surprised at something he did, he would call us Aunt(ie) Sookie. He drank "a coopa coofa" instead of coffee. When it snowed, he would say there was "Schnae in ze owf [sp]!" If he didn't like something we were doing, he'd put his hands up high in his armpits and say, "Nie, though! Nie, though! Nie though!"  And so many more things. Yes, I use lots of his sillinesses with my own kids, and he gets a giant kick out of that!
4. What is something that has happened to you that you would consider a miracle?
I met my husband, who was truly meant for me. I believe he was God's gift to me; I honestly do.
5. What is it too late for?
Drinking the Diet Coke that I'm chugging down at the moment. ;P (It's 2 AM at the moment.)
6. What do you try to stay away from?
Smokers! BLECH!!! Instant headache, and I like clean air, thanks. But don't get me started...
7. When you get into a disagreement or fight, how often are you the first to apologize?
My husband will probably disagree (haha) with this, but I would say at least half the time, I apologize first. More often if it's with people other than him.
8. Tell us about a current issue that you’re unhappy with.
I'm going to go with a personal issue instead of something in the news, so I will say my string of migraines. Three-four weeks straight of daily ones now. Hi, not fun.
9. How often do you update your blog/site and why?
I don't know, at least a few times a week at least, and der, because I've got something to say!
Have a great weekend, y'all!

Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments

Link up here if your thoughts are all over the place and you think Mrs. 4444 and pals have just gotta read 'em anyway!

I've been grateful to have a pretty low-key week both at home with the kids and extra-curricularly, since I'm still nursing a weeks-long migraine. It's a baddy. I need to call Neurology today to get back into the headache clinic. I was supposed to call Tuesday, but I haven't even been able to bear being on the phone for five minutes. Thankfully, the children "get it" and have been pretty hushity-hush when Mom is begging for them to be quiet. All three of them get migraines, too, so they're able to empathize, sadly for them.

Anyway. I did manage to do some extensive deal-shopping and save (even make!) a few bucks this week, but that's about all I've left the house for, other than driving a friend to work one night.

No one's answered my Aloha Friday question yet - won't you? - so I'm thinking people either don't get the question or I'm the only such weirdo. Now that latter thing wouldn't surprise me, nor does the confirmation of it smart, but it'd be nice to know that someone out there knows what I mean and has a similar feeling!

Oh, I know what's happened since last Friday! On Saturday, my son Jack's Cub Scout pack ran their Pinewood Derby race, and he won first place for both his Bear den and the overall pack. Woohoo! Three years running, he's taken home a trophy (or two) and headed to the District race, coming up in March. You can see his grins here, if you'd like.

Also, that night, I took my Daisy troop - and Chloë went with her Junior Girl Scout troop - to a local museum for their environmental activities and exhibits. I haven't blogged about that yet; perhaps I will after this, 'cause I'm wide awake this early morning and yet not energetic enough to, y'know, fold the dozen or so loads of laundry taking up space over yonder. It was fun, and I think they learned a few things, but my Assistant Leader and I both agreed it probably wasn't worth the cost. Meh. Whatcha gonna do, barter over Girl Scout programs? I don't think so. But we probably won't do that one again next time.

So that's me for the week. Usually I can blather on 'til the cows come home, but my head aches, and if I told you anything else, it would likely be a complete fabrication!

Have a great weekend!


P.S. Oh! I've been asked about my iron transfusion last Friday. It went great! It took forever, and I was humbled as I was by far the youngest patient in there and, judging from the bald and be-wigged heads of the others, probably the healthiest, relatively speaking. It took about six hours, so I did a little knitting, a bit of chit-chatting with the nurses and other patients, and mostly, I napped. I probably snored and drooled; okay, I know I did, but I didn't care then, and I don't care now! Ah was tarred. If it weren't for the migraines, I'd be feeling like Superwoman now, I think. That infusion made a huge difference. I'm already looking forward to the next topping-off in 4-6 months. Hee! Iron-piggy, me. Thanks for your concern, askers out there! Now cross your fingers I'm able to donate blood tomorrow afternoon; I'm O-neg and feel it's my duty, but I've been deferred every time I go in for a year now! Ayee!

Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments

Link up with Mrs. 4444 if you're playing along today.

I really only have one fragment this week: I'm still sick. It's going on three full weeks of this illness, of which I'm sure you don't want the gory details (think, intestinal blah), and I am weak and useless. I've shed many tears and am feeling quite weary, both physically and mentally. As such, it takes everything I've got just to get through the days, and I haven't been doing a whole bunch with the family. I got a brief reprieve (thank you, God) on Christmas and had a pretty decent day, but otherwise, sickkkkk.

On that note, and really, that's all there is for me, I wish you all the very best that 2012 can bring.


Aloha Friday


I'm not really well and feeling up to it, but I couldn't miss the last Aloha of 2011, so my question for you this week is:

When it comes to yourself, and you need to go to the doctor, are you good about going right away or do you drag your feet and wait until it's really necessary?

As for me, I'm more the latter type. I'm the first one there when it comes to the kids, but as for me, I'd rather do just about anything else than go to the doctor. 'Fraid I've been four times - and counting - with this illness, though, persistent as it is.

Link up here if you've got questions for Kailani and crew today, too.

Have a happy, and healthy, 2012.


A Brief Stroll Down Memory Lane


Hey, remember when Jack was about 3½ and I made these freakin' cute sweaters? I did a dumb thing: instead of keeping them for MY children, I sold them on eBay for way less than they were worth. I could still kick myself!


Here's baby Sophia wearing the same cabled and bobbled sweater. I know! Can you believe that's really her?! She has changed SO much since she was a baby, one can scarcely recognize her. Even her own mother. Crazy.


Here's the other one. I just did a search for them on Mary Maxim, where I originally got the kits, but they no longer seem to be available there. Shame. I mean, I still have the patterns (I think?!) and can use any yarns I want, but that doesn't help anyone else, does it?


And again, Sophie modeling the same get-up. I have to laugh, because I remember intentionally not wanting her to stand up on the chaise lounge, there, but you couldn't keep her down! The kid walked at seven months (!!) and has been on the move ever since.

Hrm, well, a quick-but-extensive search online didn't turn up an alternate source, so... that stinks. I hope they're still available somewhere, because they're super-cute, right?

Anyway. I'm still deep in the midst of my illness that's been going on since the 12th, so not a lot going on here today. I might look at a magazine or two. Exciting, right?


Oh, Yeah, So Like, We Went To Great Wolf Lodge Again, And Stuff...

Omgosh, y'all. I have been so sick this week, I have literally begged, crying and cringing, for Rob to shoot me. The jackhole refuses, God bless his soul, so here I sit, in agony, crapping my brains out, cursing the virus that's causing my amoebic dystentery malaria gastroenteritis. Or as the doctor at the ER last night referred to it, apparently mistaking me for someone stupid, the "stomach flu."


What?!! I could've picked a worse picture! And trust me, Google Image has them. I'm being nice, here. And I'm feeling particularly cranky, so you're lucky. Imagine how sore my, uh, yeah. Let's move on, here. You've all been there.

(Why am I suddenly craving a bean burrito from Taco Bell? Gross.)

So last week, we had an early Christmas at Great Wolf Lodge. Trip Numero Tres, that would be. The last time was two years ago, but this time, we went because we got an incredible homeschoolers' discount. Yeah, buddy. It pays to skool yer kidz at home. Even if you occasionally get sick and that edumacation consists of, "Please go clean your rooms. Or break something, I don't care. Just leave me alone." Okay, so that exact conversation didn't really take place, but essentially, we have taken this here week off from scholarly pursuits. Can you blame me? I mean, I've single-anally upped the stock market index for all things Cottonelle.

Anyway. I thought you said we were going to discuss Great Wolf Lodge, not my arse? Oh, that was me. Because, you know, I do all the talking here, and you sit and read. That's how it works. Ah. Now apparently I think you're stupid. Well, you are here and not reading Perez Hilton or something. I mean. c'mon.

I think I'm going to just publish this one and then start a whole new one for the actual trip after I've had a chance to disinfect my brain from the havoc that is being wreaked upon my bowels at present, m'kay?

You're welcome.


On Being Crafty

Since this guy:

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has been freaking me out since Thursday with his possibly having had a stroke or several (hi, two ER visits later and we have yet to have him see a Neurologist, grr), I've been what you might call "productively unproductive." Huh? Welp, instead of doing (mostly) what I ought to do, like school the chillens and clean the house and sech, I've been spending the time trying not to be One Big Worrywart by being crafty instead. Crafting helps soothe my frazzled nerves and so, in this case, I gave myself a free pass to do whatever it was that I needed to do.


Firstly, I was determined to conquer this beast, which all of our girls - including the little 5-7-year-old Daisies - were supposed to have made at our encampment last weekend, but which proved to be next to impossible for just about everyone (including us adults). Chloë massively impressed me - and, I think, several of the other Leaders there - by reinventing the wheel and coming up with her own successful way to do it, but even then, it wasn't "right," as the directions given were confusing and, well, it turns out, just wrong. Since we had several 2-L bottles in the recycling bin, I decided to take another whack at it, and behold! Once you follow the dang directions, it's really not too bad. And it looks kind of cool, so I ended up making, like, five. (Hey, it was nerve-soothing, remember??)


Ignoring the background, and the fact that I couldn't get off the entire Coke label, I think it turned out pretty well. I filled it with glass beads and water, then went outside and snipped what may be my last lily of the year to snap this picture. My mistake was leaving it there alone. Half-hour later, I went into the kitchen, and I found our two wee kittens had battered the flower and drunk all the water they could reach out of the vase. Cats!!

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Ah, but they're so cute and sweet and innocent when they're sleeping (not unlike the kids, eh?), it's hard not to forgive them and just laugh it off...


I was enjoying the craft so much that when I ran out of 2-L bottles, I decided to try making one out of a much smaller and more rigid SoBe LifeWater bottle. That took all my strength to cut! But, I rescued what was by then left of the flower and think it turned out mighty purty with some blue glass beads (I almost typed "glue blass" instead, as I am the queen of Spoonerisms). Right?


I then turned my attention to making my SWAPS ("Something Whimsical Affectionately Pinned Somewhere") for my Outdoor II (camping) training session that I was supposed to be at, well, right now. (After the Rob scares, I had to cancel my attendance, but I didn't know that at the the time.) So what's this jumble of mess?


Since our group's chosen Patrol name, with the overall camp theme was "Under the Sea," was the Sassy Sharks, I came up with this SWAP(s) first: A Sassy Shark intentionally pinned to the TOP of the crocheted chain. Get it? Sharks are apex predators, at the top of the food chain? Yes? You see? C'mon, it's jeenyus. Okay, okay, whatever, I liked it.

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This was the second set of SWAPS I worked out. Up close:

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A baggy containing a little card reading, "Make no bones (get it? Get it? Sharks have no bones! I'm so damn clever) about it, we Sharks sure are Sassy!" with another sassy, dancing little shark clip-art photo, and some frou-frous thrown in there for extra sass. I wanted to make a third set of SWAPS, but time was running short, and I still needed to make our Patrol's name tags, for which I was responsible.


A lot of Google Imaging, printing, cutting, laminating, and badge-attaching later, and my name tags were done. I was SO proud of them, and that's probably the one disappointment I had about not going camping this weekend; "that" being able to explain to each of our participants why I assigned them the sharks that I did. So, you'll have to sit through while I explain them to you, 'cause someone has to know the truth of the matter.

Top, L to R: Hard to see, but N was our "Ghost Shark," because she was absent for our initial training and planning session, so we only had her in spirit. J was our Hammerhead, because they're one of the few sharks that really school in groups and they're quite dominant, and I got the sense that J was a real team player but also a natural-born leader-type. See?

Middle, L to R: S was our Wobbegong, one of my favorite sharks, because she struck me as gentle and shy, like these more docile fish. D wanted to be the Great White, and I forget why, but I gave that to her. She had a strong personality as well, so it seemed fitting, anyway. And, my Assistant Troop Leader, Miss D, was our Patrol Leader, a.k.a. the group cheerleader, so I made her our Megamouth Shark. Get it? Like she had a megaphone to cheer us all on with? Ha. I kill The Me.

Bottom, L to R: I made myself the Nurse Shark, because I was our Patrol's elected First Aider (which makes it suck even more that I couldn't go! Hope no one gets any boo-boos...). The next one was a Chimaera, which I LOVE because it belongs to AD: The overall camp trainer, she gets a name tag from EVERY Patrol to keep for her collection. So why a Chimaera? Well, they are related to sharks, but not really sharks, for one, and for another, in mythology, chimaerae are thought to be able to change themselves into different things, and since she gets to be part of all the Patrols, technically, she's changing roles depending on which one she's with. Love it? I do!! Our Patrol Trainer, C, is a runner, so I made her our super-fast Mako Shark. And last, but not least, A, the oldest (by far) in our group, was the now-extinct but long-lived Megalodon Shark. Heehee.

Yup. I'm proud of these and hope everyone was able to figure out their sharky identities without my help. Am I a nerd? You betcha!

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Once I finished that, I was still distracted by my fretting, so I turned to the one guaranteed nerve-calmer for me: needlework. The knitting project (my Sparkle! dress), I deemed to be at a point to stressful to get the job properly done, so I switched tactics and started a pretty doily (Ravlink) instead. (PDF here) I was so glad to finally finish those 10 flowers last night! After about six, I was bored of that. But sometimes, a little tedium is just what the doctor ordered, so that was okay, too.

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Last night, I worked on the center of the doily, a fast work-up, and am now at the point where I'll switch colors again (this is actually a light mint green, if you can't tell from the pic; click to embiggerate, as usual) and start attaching the flowers. I can't wait and will jump into that as soon as I finish this post!

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And finally, I made the creamed corn at which my teen cooking class balked,and since I was so exhausted from my ongoing Hell Week, I gave them a pass and let them have Study Hall instead, agreeing to make the four (nope, three, since one student did agree to make the rice dish, so I sent her home with the ingredients for that) side dishes on last week's cooking agenda myself and report back to them. My report? Utter deliciousness, and I have since engulfed about 2/3 of the dish. Rob's pronouncement? "Ugh.That is all you." Fine by me! Yum!

Today, I'll make up the other two dishes and show you those, later.

Have a swell week!


Friday Fragments


Link up here if you need to get some crap stuff off your chest today, too!

This has been a week of injury, pain and crisis for Team Odette. Wanna hear? Good, because that's pretty much all I've got to share right now.

Sunday, 6yo DD Sophia slammed her hand in the van door. Cue major crying and agony, as her hand swelled up to double its regular size and turned 15 shades of red and purple. So we drove home from where we were and then Daddy took her to the ER for X-rays. Thankfully, nothing was broken, but as there were a half-dozen booboos on the outside, too, they bandaged her up to high heaven and sent her home with Tylenol and Motrin.

(P.S. She's fine now.)

Monday, Chloë had her braces put on by the kids' dentist, Dr. C., on the top row of teeth. None for the bottom. She's been practically howling in pain ever since, whining and complaining that everything is poking her in the cheeks and gums, it's too tight, yadda yadda yadda. As her mother has had them twice, and her Daddy once, she's at least got sympathetic parents. And lots of yogurt in the fridge so she can eat.

(P.S. I had to make a special stop at Dr. C.'s office on Wednesday for more wax already. I asked her to use it a little more sparingly, huh? 'Cause I can't be driving down there every two days for more, y'know?)

Tuesday, the third day of crying in pain, Jack's own dental pain became so bad that we had to take him in to Dr. C. at night on an emergency basis. He had to keep his staff there late and everything, to treat the poor boy. Turns out, he had an abscessed tooth, which they immediately extracted (it was a baby tooth, fortunately). The poor kid is prone to cavities and has about eight right now that need filling under general anesthesia, so we're trying to get that taken care of at the Naval Hospital.

(P.S. He's fine now, as long as we keep him dosed on the same Tylenol/Motrin schedule as Sophia's hand required. His only complaint now is, "It feels weird where my tooth was." Well, yeah, duh.)

Wednesday, I was shopping at Wally World cooking classes in the wee-wee hours of the morning. So maybe I was a bit tired when I got back home at 0400 and started taking bags out to bring into the house.... I use canvas bags as much as possible, this trip being no exception, and have a number of drawstring ones. Well, I thought I had the canned-food bag right-side-up, but apparently I didn't, because as soon as I lifted it out, PLUNK-DUNK-PLUNK-PLUNK came out all the cans - plus a 68-oz bottle of olive oil - onto the toes of my right foot. I said a lot of bad four-letter words and ran into the house to check things over. Not unlike Sophia, there was blood, swelling, redness, and pain involved. I was pretty sure I broke between 1-3 of those toes.

(P.S. I still am, but since I can walk, and there's not a lot they do for broken toes other than confirm it and dummy-tape them, I've done nothing for it but take the occasional Tylenol. I'm beginning to think we should buy stock in that company, eh?)

Thursday, my husband came home from work acting funny. Not his usual self. That, combined with unusually high blood pressure (he's usually healthy as a horse, fit as a fiddle, you get picture), a horrible puking migraine that gave him residual headaches every day since, and a few other symptoms, had us driving back to the emergency room as soon as our Girl Scout meeting ended. A few tests later, we found out that the CT-scan showed several spots which indicated he'd possibly suffered a mini-stroke!

(P.S. !!!!!! Yes, I am super concerned. I want him to go to the neurologist, like, yesterday.)

Also Thursday, I was supposed to go to the Onco-Geneticist for counseling to see if they would do the breast cancer screening test on me, based on my family history of it. I mean, they're going to do it, but this was my intake appointment. I totally forgot about it, so I didn't go. Hopefully, I won't get a $50 missed appointment bill. Ugh.

Friday hasn't quite started yet, but things are already looking interesting: I'm seeing my prescribing shrinky-dink in the afternoon, and I have the following symptoms to share with him (and no, I'm not to copy my husband, lol; I think these are all/mostly medically-induced): sudden and severe occasional stuttering; muddled thinking and inability to do things I can normally do; the front of my tongue curling so that I talk funny, which I can't stop no matter how hard I try; more visual hallucinations; acting "drunk" according to my husband; and, tremors in my right hand. Awesome, right?

(P.S. I have to go camping again for Girl Scouts this weekend. I totally don't want to go. I'm tired. It's been a rough week. Think good thoughts for me out in the woods, will you, please?)

That's all I've got. Nothing Halloween-y, as we didn't Trick-or-Treat, or pass out candy, or decorate, or anything. This is not our usual custom, but the kids had 10 days (ten!!) to get their rooms clean, and they didn't do it, so they had it taken away. Le sigh.

Hope you all had a better week than we did, and here's hoping to a better one ahead for us!


Once Upon A Time...

... there was a Mommy, and a Daddy, and they had a wee boy-child, and two girl-children, and those children were all in Scouts (Cub and Girl, respectively). And the Mommy was the Leader of the younger girl's troop, which was fun, except for the part where it took over every spare waking moment of her life, and some of the sleeping ones, and some of the not-spare moments. And the Mommy missed it when Summer came, but then when Summer left, the Mommy wished it would hurry right back, because between homeschooling those three youngsters and Scouts and chasing after four cats - two of whom were little kittens who didn't always feel the need to use the proper pottying place - and Gymnastics and running her own business(es) and occasionally wanting to play with her nice, (not-so-)little yarn stash, and doing the mundane things that keep a house running, and cuddling with the Daddy, and... and... and...., she felt like she never slept again. 

And then, one day, she learned to say "no."

"No, I can't do that today. I already have too much to do."

"No, I can't take that on, too. I already have plans."

"No, I really don't want to do that."

"No, I'm not interested."

"No. Just no."

And then, like a miracle had happened, it seemed like there were blank spots on her calendar where things weren't over-scheduled, and the Mommy and her three children had time to go to places like the park and the library again, and the Daddy didn't always have to cook the dinners because the Mommy had time to plan and cook them, and she had time to sleep again. And sometimes, read a page in a magazine or two, even.

And this blogger, who writes this blahg, wished she were that nay-saying Mommy, because she simply can't seem to put those two letters together unless she sings the alphabet, and is really much too tired to figure out what the proper tenses in this sentence should be. And she couldn't care less right now, because this is one of those nights where she doesn't get to sleep, and the kittens have soiled the floor for the eleventeenth time this week, and she has an upset stomach and a runny nose, and she has to bring her family to the beach in 3½ hours, and the only thing that matters is whether she should put on a pot of coffee or go run out for some more Diet Coke.

The End.

{Phew. That got to be quite tedious, didn't it? I'm glad it's over.}

Friday Fragments


Link up here if you're fragmentin' along with Mrs.4444 today!

I've taken no fewer than three naps today. I've either turned into a cat, or I'm sick. Guess which. (I don't have whiskers, if that helps.)

Last night, I went out with one of my girlfriends for a mystery shop at a bar. I told Hubs I'd be be back in an hour and a half to help clean the house. Well, I strolled in 3½ hours later and felt fine about it, since I'd had more and harder laughs in that time than I'd had in ages. Love my Jenny From the Block! When I brought her home, we sat in her drive for at least another hour, "saying goodbye." I love having good friends like that, and the fact that she lives close by doesn't hurt, either.

Just before that, our sister troop's leader and I ran our annual Girl Scout Rededication ceremony with both her Junior and my Daisy troop, plus one Investiture for my new little Daisy. It was lots of fun, and my Daisies did GREAT remembering (and reciting, by themselves) the short Promise, and the Law, which is rather long. I handed out tissue packs for all the moms, because sometimes you cry at these things, and patches that the girls have earned in the last few months. This time, I made them into little books. Now, I have to get sewing and ironing, to get my girls' vests up to date!

Co-op is going FABULOUS on Wednesdays. If you're new here, or just forgetful, we're in our second year of homeschooling, and we go to a co-op for Christian Military Homeschoolers on Weds. I teach three cooking classes, and sometime, I'll get around to posting what we're actually up to in there, but I've gotten nothing but great feedback from my students and parents. One girl, M, comes into class saying, "Hello, favorite teacher!" which, you know, gives me a bit of an ego boost. My kids love it, too. Chloë frequently exclaims, "I wish Co-op was every day; it's so fun!"

When my son died, my MIL gave me a necklace representing each of my then-three children, with Robby as an angel. Then Sophia was born, and she took it back to have a new dangly child added. Well, a few months ago, I took off the necklace for one night, to wear something else (I almost always wore this one), and it disappeared. Earlier, my husband told me to turn around and close my eyes. As soon as I felt him reach around my neck, I knew what it was. "YOU FOUND IT!" I squealed. He's my new favorite husband. ♥

I have to get up way early tomorrow morning for three different back-to-back Girl Scout-related events. Seriously? From September thru June, it practically takes over my life. Oy. Is it wrong to be looking forward to Summer for that reason...?

That's all I've got for now. I'd probably tell you a hundred other things, but I have Sick Brain and CRS.  Have a great weekend!