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Sunday Stealing: Interesting Confusions...

Hey there, guys and dolls! Welcome back to SSA. I've missed you! I'm hoping that by the end of November, we'll finally be in our forever home here on Maryland's Eastern Shore.

And I'm hoping that it will finally feel like home, not just our house.

Ya dig?

Keep your fingers crossed for us, you fine folks, will you?

As I'm sending good vibes to all of you as we work through fires and storms and COVID-19 and head into winter... <sigh>

Link up here to play along this weekend!


Stolen from various web sites...

1) Can you cry under water?

Crying Under Water - Akira & Anime Background Wallpapers on Desktop Nexus  (Image 1220268)

I'm not sure I could. Underwater = my happiest happy place.

2) What is the fattest thing you’ve ever done?

09072020 Chloë's 19th Birthday Cake

Admittedly, I don't entirely understand the intent of this question, but...

Oh, I definitely have a sweet tooth, so I have had trouble cutting out the sweets since they became a big problem for me. The worst is when any of us have a birthday. Rob likes a plain, unfrosted chocolate cake for his birthdays, but most of the rest of us like Carvel ice cream cakes for ours. Since Chloë's birthday is the 7th of September, and mine is the 8th, we often have... kind of a lot of it. I get sick on it every time, but does it stop me??

3) If you’re going to be arrested, what do you want your crime to be?

Anglican priest chains herself to a tree in protest of Trans Mountain  pipeline expansion in Burnaby | Delta Optimist

I've never been arrested, but I admit, I've sort of half-jokingly put it on my Bucket List. If it happens, I want it to be for some kind of protest, whether it be political or, preferably, an environmental cause.

4) When they say dog food is “new and improved” who tastes it?

How to Keep Your Dog From Eating Cat Food | AvoDerm Natural

Well, first of all, I've always had issues with that phrase, "new and improved." If it's new, then what could have been improved upon if it didn't exist before? If it's improved, then it's something old they made better, so how could it be new? 

Anyway. I figure, if they're going to find out if dog food is better, they'd better ask the experts: dogs!

5) What’s the ugliest thing you’ve ever seen?

Top Ten Evil Stepmothers - IGN

My stepmother was always sarcastic, always sneering, in this unique way that I've only ever seen one other person in my life do. Very much like Cinderella's evil stepmother, here. It was an awful expression that could drain the blood from my face in an instant, because I knew that whatever was coming next would be worse than whatever led up to that point. I don't miss that b**ch.

6.) Why doesn’t glue stick to its bottle?

An Investigation of Polymers

So there you go!

7) What historical event do you wish you’d witnessed?

Kerri Strug GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Oh my gosh, there are so many things I could have thought of, but the first one I thought of was the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta when Kerry Strug did her vault with a broken ankle. That whole Dream Team was amazing. I would love, love, love to attend the Olympics some day!

8) Who has had the best influence on your life?

50 Husband quotes: I Love My Husband Quotes Girlterest – Part 22 Best  Quotes Love – BestQuotes

I've thunk hard on it, and I keep returning to the one inevitable answer: my husband. No one else in this world has made me look inside myself and really try to be better for someone else and not just for my own sake.

9) Would you rather go into space or to Antarctica?

Assassins can fly — Fly me to the moon 🌙 gifs made by me :)

Space! Although I'd always accept a trip anywhere, almost anytime - pandemics excluded.

10) Would you rather sleep with no pillow or no blankets?

Amazon.com: I Am Crazy I Love Crazy Pillow Cases Pillowcase Couples Gift  Bedding Present Funny: Kitchen & Dining

I'd rather live without the pillow. I don't care how hot I am, I need to have certain portions of me covered with a blanket - and I can always use part of it for a pillow!

11) What's your favorite rain memory?

0612011 Sophia's 6th birthday party

Oh, whenever it rained in the summers in Virginia Beach, when Sophia was two, three, four, five years old... we would go out and jump in the puddles! That little bitty was so excited and happy when she was jumping up and down in those puddles. She was just the the picture of pure joy.

12) If you were elected president, what is the first thing you would do?

First thing I would do is declare a moratorium on fossil fuels. No more coal mines, fracking, oil drilling, none of that. Our reliance on fossil fuels has long overstayed its welcome, and it's killing all of us. That shit's got to end.

13) If you had $3 to spend in the dollar store, what would you buy?

TOP 5 Things to Always Purchase at Dollar Tree!

If I have an occasion like a birthday, the supplies there can't be beat for a buck! Ribbons, tissue paper, gift bag? Done!

14) What’s the most annoying sound in the world?

If You Hate The Sound Of People Chewing, Then You're Probably A Genius |  Prodinr

I can't stand to hear other people chewing and smacking their lips while they're eating. I have to tell my son to stop doing it constantly. Drives me crazy!

15) What natural disaster scares you the most?

Think 2020′s disasters are wild? Experts say the worst is yet to come

Fire. We had a fire in the house I grew up in, and I still have scars on my legs from that. I've lived through that, tropical storms and hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes, a supertyphoon... but nothing scares me like fire. I don't want to die that way.


On that pleasant thought...! I've got some work to do for this nonprofit project I'm working on, and then make a list for some shopping. Maybe I'll even get some knitting accomplished. Not necessarily in that order.

Cheers to all of you and let's hope no one's in any natural disasters today!



Saturday 9: One Night Standards

Ashley McBryde will stick to the “One Night Standards” on tour in 2020 –  Algona Radio

Hello, y'all. Another weekend has snuck right on up on me. I missed last weekend entirely, seems like.

If I didn't tell you here, we put our Idaho house on the market, and within hours we had an offer for the full amount of our request. So that was exciting. Once we close on that, we can start looking for our new home here on the Eastern shore of Maryland. Woot!

Hope y'all are doing well. ♥

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


Saturday 9: One Night Standards (2019)

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

1) The video for this song takes place in a motel and the story is told from the point of view of the desk clerk. Have you ever worked in a hotel, motel, or bed-and-breakfast?

I have not. But I used to have this fantasy of owning and running a boutique bed & breakfast in St. Pete Beach or Sarasota, Florida.

2) Ashley McBryde sings that she's not Cinderella, a reference to the fairy-tale heroine warned to return from the ball before midnight. When did you recently stay up until the wee small hours of the morning?

Today! I can't help it. Try as I might to get myself on a "normal" human, diurnal schedule, my body just won't comply. I always end right back up on a nocturnal schedule, try as I might to fight it.

3) Ashley had been working hard as a singer/songwriter for eleven years before she was discovered and proclaimed one of County's best new artists. What was your life like 11 years ago?

Oh, it was busy! By then I had a 4-year-old daughter, a 6-year-old son, and an 8-year-old daughter. I was a stay-home mom, but we were rarely at home. I think I had started my bakery by then and was getting orders fairly frequently; I was also still running my 501(c)(3) in memory of my living son's twin. Hubs was still Active-Duty Navy, so we mostly scheduled everything around that. I hated our house in Virginia Beach, but I loved living there - it was a great location!

4) Ashley is from Mammoth Springs, AR. One of the most popular stops on Main Street -- for locals and tourists alike -- is Spring Dipper Ice Cream. More than 20 flavors are made right there on the premises, from Jamoca Almond Fudge to French Vanilla. When confronted with such a wide selection, do you tend to order your familiar favorite or try something new?

Pistachio Ice Cream Recipe | Southern Living

It's kind of a toss-up on that.  I love pistachio ice cream, but I rarely find it anymore. So if I see that, I'm probably getting it. If it's not there, I have to look at and evaluate each and every single other flavor to see what there is. I know what I'd like and what I wouldn't. And so I whittle down my choices until I reach my answer: wait a minute! I can't eat ice cream!

5) In 2007, she moved to Nashville to pursue a music career. Have you ever relocated for a job?

Guam | History, Geography, & Points of Interest | Britannica

Well, you didn't specify that it had to be my job (although I have done that, too), so yes: in 2002, we moved to Guam on the other side of the world for Rob's next station in the US Navy. Chloë was a baby, and I was early in my pregnancy with the twins. We had a dog and a cat who flew separately from us and got lost, then were found and had to quarantine for a month or so. This all cost a pretty penny, and seemed like it was soooo much flying with a 13-month-old! So imagine how thrilled we were when we had to do it again and go back to the States four months later! (At that time I was about six months pregnant, but it was twins, and I had the same polyhydramnios - excess amniotic fluid - that I'd had with Chloë, so the flight attendants were eyeing my belly like, "Are you sure you're allowed to be flying right now?!"

6) Whenever Ashley hears a Carpenters song, she thinks of her mother, who loved Karen Carpenter's voice. Tell us a song that reminds you a loved one.

My mother loved the song "Hey There, Georgy Girl" and used to play it, almost daily, on her organ in our house in first Monroe, then Baldwinsville, New York. I just thought of it, and listened to it, now for the first time in years. I could see her so joyfully playing the organ and singing along, smiling, sounding beautiful. She had a lovely voice and was so talented.

7) In 2019, the year this song was recorded, Notre Dame Cathedral was damaged in a fire. Have you ever visited Paris?

Cours Saleya Flower Market | Flower market, Healthy lunches for kids, Fruit  displays

No, not yet. The closest I've come was the flower market in Nice. And on that same 2008 trip, we also went to Eze. Beautiful!

8) Also in 2019, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (aka Harry and Meghan) had a baby boy. Is anyone in your life expecting a baby?

Wow, I don't think so. If anyone I know is pregnant, I do not think I am aware of it yet. Been a long time since I could say that!

9) Random question: Do you always want to hear the truth about yourself?

Fragile Please Handle With Care 5" x 3" Shipping Labels - SCL536

I would like to say yes, but I am afraid that answer is actually no, not always. I'm just too sensitive. I don't know. Can I say "maybe"??


Well, kids, I'm off to take my brood for a spin in my new wheels. We're going all the way to the post office. Exciting!

Have a lovely!


Sunday Stealing: Friday Five Theft

Hiya! Once again, I'm dodging my responsibilities and playing along with Sunday Stealing. Here's today's post, if you're inclined to join us.

Bev Sykes of the blog "Funny the World" is our lovely host. Welcome to the joint! Here, we will steal all types of questions from every corner of the blogosphere. Our promise to you is that we will work hard to find the most interesting and intelligent questions. Cheers to all of us thieves!


1) What makes it easy to talk to someone?

Tigger Tails for National Winnie the Pooh Day!! | Pooh quotes, Words,  Winnie the pooh quotes

If  they're interested in what you're saying, and vice-versa, that helps.

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

Talking To Strangers Summary - Four Minute Books

Sure. I remember this one mystery shop I was doing at a very high-end boutique restaurant in Miami. I ended up talking to the women's bathroom attendant for quite a long time. We really bonded. At the end, we hugged and maybe cried a little. I have no idea what we talked about, now, but that women isn't paid enough!

3) Do you like to argue?

Buy Waste No More Time Arguing What a Good Man Should Be. Be One - Marcus  Aurelius: 110 Page 6x9 Wide Ruled Composition Notebook Book Online at Low  Prices in India |

If you mean like the angry, loud kind of conversation, then no, not really. I do like having a really good, constructive discussion about ethical and moral issues and such.

4) Some people like to talk about things, and some people like to do things. Which are you?

Less talking more doing. Maybe it's just because the sun is shining but I'm  excited by most of the things I'm do… | Motivational quotes, Quotes,  Inspirational words

Pre-disabilities, I was both. Say what I was going to do, or wanted to do, and then go get it done. These days I'm more of a delegator.

5) Who is easier to talk to – men or women?

1000+ ideas about Guy Friends on Pinterest | Guy Best Friend, Guy ... |  Psychology quotes, Psychology says, Psychology facts

Historically, I've always had a lot more guy friends than girls. Now that I'm much older, most of my friends are women.

6) What is your favorite place?

Rob and Mel November 2001

My favorite place isn't a geographical spot on any map but rather wherever this guy is, in his arms.

7) What is your favorite place in your home?

Video 13 MASTER BEDROOM_Moment

Probably our master bath. It's so relaxing and luxurious there, and I've spent a lot of time in it. Hopefully our new house in Maryland - or wherever we land - will bring something competitive!

8) Would you most want to live in a city, a suburb or the country?

Trip Trivia

My favorite place is a city by the sea, like here in Split, Croatia. (I haven't been there. I have been to Dubrovnik, but not Split.)

9) What is special about the town you live in?


I can't think of anything. And that's why I've gotta leave.

10) How much time do you spend in nature?

The One Nature Challenge - David Suzuki Foundation | Health, Health  benefits, Health guide

Right now? Practically none. I used to spend all my time in nature. I've gotta remedy that.

11) Do you make up a dinner plan for the coming week?

7 DAY VEGAN CHALLENGE MEAL PLAN (Easy, go-to recipes) - YouTube

I really tried to get into doing that, but I found it too restrictive. After we get settled into whatever new house we own, I'm going to try again.

12) Do you make up a grocery shopping list and stick to it when shopping?

RuPaul's Drag Race Tier List (Community Rank) - TierMaker

Oh yes, most definitely. I am the queen of lists... as opposed to this, RuPaul's list of queens.

13) What is one thing that you always buy, but never write down on a list?

Drinking milk probably does not cause breast cancer - The Washington Post

Milk. I'm forever buying milk. My kids drink a ton of it.

14) Is there anything that you always think you are out of and come home with it to discover you already have a year’s supply on hand?

Lots of Rice Menu, Menu for Lots of Rice, Borehamwood, London

Hmm, not really, because of those afore-mentioned lists. Probably one of the things I might be guilty of over-buying is rice. No idea why.

15) Do you get your groceries delivered?

Google's Wing gets first-ever drone delivery license | The Counter

Nope. I mean, we did that once or twice when we lived in Boise, but nothing delivers out here. Nothing.


All right, y'all, I've got more travel plans to make. Be well!


Sunday Stealing: League Of Extraordinary Penpals

Hey there, hi there, ho there, thieves! I'm watching the documentary series "Diagnosis" on Netflix right now - and of course, now my husband and I are going, "You need to get on that!" regarding all of my health issues - so forgive me if my answers become disjointed from distraction. I have a habit of going back later and finding I've done that!

I trust you are all well.

Link up here if you want to steal some shhhh--- today! Let's go:


1 What are your plans for August?

Josephine House

Well, August is kind of a big month. We bought this big, beautiful, modern house last June. It's in a very small town in nowheresville, Idaho. I love the house. I do. I love my freakin' house. But I hate where it is. I've tried for 14 months to just be okay here for the sake of everybody else, but I just cannot do it anymore. I've got to GTFO of this state.

So, four of us are moving into an extended-stay hotel in Boise on Monday. Chloë, who will be 19 next month, is moving out into a place of her own and staying here. (Not gonna lie, I'm having a very hard time with that.) Rob's hiring movers that will come in and pack us up, then we'll have a move-out cleaning, and then the realtor who sold us the house is going to put it back on the market for us.

The average time for a home in our area to be on the market is 9 days, so I'm crossing my fingers for good luck like that. (Please cross yours, too!)

As soon as that happens, we're paying off the remainder of our car loan and gifting the car to Chloë. Then we'll hop a plane to Maryland.

Watch for what happens next...

2 Review the first half of 2020:

40 Memes That Sum Up 2020 So Far | Bored Panda

🔼🔼 There you go. 🔼🔼

2020 is a dumpster fire: These memes nail exactly how we're feeling – Film  Daily

3 A place you’d go if money were no object:

The history of manned space flight [infographic] | OUPblog

Oh, I'd definitely go on a space flight and realize my childhood dreams.

4 Who was your childhood best friend?

7 Reasons Why Your Childhood Best Friend Will Always Be Irreplaceable

Well, it seemed like in elementary school I had a different best friend every year. Victoria... Thea... Shannon.... Ellie... different Shannon...

But from 6th grade on, I had a group of friends that pretty much stayed together. I count two of them (Lisa & Shana) as my best friends to this day. I'm lucky to have them.

5 The city or town you love most?

Types Of Palm Trees | Labels: Too Many Palms | Tropical garden, University  of miami hurricanes, Palm trees

Can I just say the entire Miami-Dade County? There are soooo many things there that I love, I couldn't pick just one municipality! Of course, I love my alma mater in Coral Gables. Then there's South Beach, of course. Then Coconut Grove... the quick drive to the Keys. I love everything about Miami!

6 How do you spend hot days?

Best Beaches in Miami | WPH South Beach

That depends... am I still in Miami, or am I stuck in Idaho? Is it a COVID year, or just an El Niño year? Given my druthers, I'd be at the beach every day, all day.

7 Are you a skilled cook or baker?


Well, I'm no expert, but I do all right. I used to have a baking business when we lived in Virginia Beach, but after one exceedingly frustrating disappointment on an order I worked terribly hard on, I kinda just... stopped.

8 One thing you wish you could currently do:

King Neptune | A frozen King Neptune at sunrise. Virginia Be… | Flickr

Hmm... Speaking of Virginia Beach, I wish I could go to the Oceanfront there right NOW! Where's King Neptune when you need him?

9 A time when you learned your lesson:

Oh, I definitely learned my lesson from buying this house here in Mountain Home: no matter how much you love the house, if you hate the town, it's not the perfect house. There are some things you just can't compromise on. So now I have my eye on this house (center, foreground) in Maryland...

10 What consistently makes you laugh?

Pin on funny

My husband, an old sailor, has an endless supply of filthy jokes. I try to act shocked, but he knows I'm amused.

11 Routines that bring you calm and peace:

Campbell River SAR rescue injured hiker in Strathcona Provincial Park - My  Comox Valley Now

Communing with nature

12 Who annoys you the most?

091419 Old Navy Rob's shirt

It's definitely this husband of mine - but I'm sure it's mutual!!

13 Describe some of your favorite household items.

04272020 Treasures 01

Last September, we drove up to Washington to visit Great Wolf Lodge for Chloë's 18th birthday. Here are our three kids' wristbands from their first visit to Great Wolf Lodge - in Williamsburg, Virginia - over a decade earlier. ♥ (Our orally-fixated pup, Tapioca, has since eaten one of them.)

04272020 Treasures 02

Here are all the pet tags from all the dogs and cats we've had who are no longer with us. ♥

04272020 Treasures 03

Here is the tape of "Wonderful Tonight" that my friends from graduate school, Heather and Mason, rearranged and did on guitar and vocals. They gave it to us at our wedding reception. I have got to get it re-recorded digitally! ♥

04272020 Treasures 05

And finally, here is just a small fraction of the pennies we've pressed over the years. We press pennies everywhere we go and have many books full of them! ♥

14 What have you gotten better at?

I believe in self improvement. For you, that is. - Lolcats - lol | cat memes  | funny cats | funny cat pictures with words on them | funny pictures | lol  cat memes | lol cats

I mean, what was the starting line? I've gotten a whole lot better at walking and talking since I started about 43 years ago, I'll you that much!

15 Share a random memory.

Camel Drinking Coke Funny Picture

When I was very young, probably under three years old, my family visited a zoo of some sort. We stopped at a kiosk somewhere, and my mother bought herself a drink. She was carrying me on her hip, so when she took a sip, I begged for a sip, too. It was delicious!!! Today I might describe it as sort of a virgin piña colada. When Mom got near the bottom of the cup, she said I could have the rest of her drink. I was so excited. Then, as soon as I had the cup in hand, Mom pivoted away from the camel pen we were standing right next to. I had the cup in my hand, and then suddenly it was snatched away from me! I looked back in shock to see the camel not only finishing my drink, but eating the cup to boot! Oh, how I sobbed. That is the only thing I remember from that day.

16 How many pairs of shoes do you have?

Crocs shoes, Lovable or Horrible? | Fashion Conscious

Oh, maybe about a dozen, give or take. I'm really not sure. I do know that more than half of those are Crocs, though!

(I need those green and turquoise pairs!)

17 Who do you go to for encouragement?

boop of encouragement | /r/wholesomememes | Wholesome Memes | Know Your Meme

It depends on what I need encouragement for. I have a team!

18 References you make that others don’t get.

Michael Scott Inside Joke GIF - MichaelScott InsideJoke TheOffice -  Discover & Share GIFs

Well, if I told you about them, you would get it, and then they wouldn't really be inside jokes anymore, right?

19 What are 10 things you consider essential for you?

08092020 Whats In My Bag

a Erin Condren Lifeplanner

b colorful Tul pens

c Versace prescription glasses

d Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

e Mint & Argan lip balm from Grove Collaborative (it's seriously the best)

f inhaler, definitely

g lotion, always gotta have lotion

h hairbrush, especially now that Sophia's making me grow it out long

i some kind of hard candy, because I go hypoglycemic fairly often

j jewelry - always have a necklace and hoops of some sort on at least!

20 Is there any accent you wish you had?

As an Aussie I have actually said this exact sentence before - FunSubstance  | Funny aussie, Australia funny, Funny australian

Australian. I tend to pick up accents and languages fairly easily, but I cannot for the life of me do an Australian accent. I just can't!


Okay, I'm posting this really late because I was at the ER all morning, so no one will probably read it. But if ya did, thank you and have a great week!



Sunday Stealing: Thoughts Provoked, Part The First

image 0

Aloha and welcome back! I just woke up from a much-needed nap, so maybe my post won't ramble all over the place as is my usual custom! 

Here's some news: as of late Friday afternoon, Team Odette is (are?) officially under contract to buy a house! It's big, beautiful and really sprawling. Plenty of room for us and our abundance of freakin' STUFF. Wanna see a couple quick previews? 'Kay:

Kimberly House Exterior 5

This is part of the outside of lovely house-to-be in Kimberly, Idaho, just outside of Twin Falls.

Kimberly House Kitchen 88

Here is one view of the kitchen about which I am supremely ecstatic.

Kimberly House Fireplace No 2 89

And that's the opposite view of the kitchen and dining room, with a glimpse at one of THREE fireplaces in the home. Squeeeee!!

Did I mention I'm excited?!!

Okay. I'll stop there and move along to Sunday Stealing. Sorry! Link up here if you'd like to join us today!


These are from a site called Thought Provoking Questions..

1. When was the last time you tried something new?

03162019 Momo Nepalese Takeout

Well, the other day we used a Groupon for a new restaurant, Mount Everest Momo Café. They serve Himalayan, Nepali, Tibetan, and Indian cuisine. Rob went and picked out what we ate: the Momo special, which had two momo (dumpling-like foods) each of vegetarian, chicken, pork, and yak. I ate the first four listed, and he ate the yak and pork. We also got a side order of naan, which was out of this world! Fortunately, I have another Groupon for the same place, so we'll get something a little different next time. I can't wait!

2. Who do you sometimes compare yourself to?

Image may contain: 2 people

Well, I do find I compare myself to both my late mother and to my teenage daughters the most, although I am a competitive person and compare myself to pretty much everyone. I've always put my mother on a pedestal since she died early in my childhood, but only now through therapy am I realizing that she was perfectly human, and therefore perfectly imperfect, and I can stop judging myself for not living up to the standard I've felt she set for me.

As for my daughters, they are vastly different in personality, like night and day. Chloë and I feel each others' feels so completely, and we have a very deep bond. Sophia and I, as well as Jack and I, also have that bond, but it's different for each kid. So I kind of compare the relationships more than myself with each kid. Does that make sense, or was it a whole lot of mumbo-jumbo? 😂

3. What’s the most sensible thing you’ve ever heard someone say?

Well, this one amuses me:

"Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way, you'll be a mile from them, and you'll have their shoes." - Jack Handey

But I'm also tickled by this one (and many others):

“If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. No use being a damn fool about it.” - W C Fields

4. What gets you excited about life?

Image result for amazing calla lily display

When my five natural senses are titillated, I find myself thoroughly exhilarated. Like this gorgeous black and white calla lily display, for instance, or for that matter any bouquet from The Bouqs. I'd buy flowers from them weekly if I could afford it! (Have you heard of them? I won a $50 bouquet from them once, and it was stunning. I'm thinking of starting a once-a-month flower subscription to The Bouqs when we get settled into the new house!)

Image result for smell of citrus fruits

... or the smell I love the most, citrus fruits! ♥ Mmm, so fantastic and fresh!

Image result for beautiful full orchestra gif

... or what about beautiful and classical, or fun and lively, or any other kind of music that moves us? Sometimes music can be so electrifying, amirite?!

100_7219 100_7549

100_7682 100_7512

... Furthermore, what about all of the gustatorial pleasures of the earth? For instance, I pulled a few pictures of some of the decadent food and drink we had on our European cruise (which you can read about here), and it gives me a bit of a thrill, even now that it's more than a decade later, to imagine the tastes of these again. I had the sangria in Barcelona, Spain; the "Sprite" was from Nàfplio, Greece; the pizza was eaten in Dubrovnik, Croatia; and the pistachio-spiked cannoli were eaten at a restaurant on the top of Mt. Etna in Sicily!

Wisp collage

...And as for the sense of touch, I could say something like the physical connection with my husband or hugging my kids, of course, but I feel like that's a gimme. Instead, this one of our five sense invokes the sensuous experience of knitting with the fine cashmere yarn produced by Iris Schreier of Artyarns, a luxurious fiber art company and probably among the top of my faves! I used their #3 cashmere in the fuschia colorway for the "Wisp" scarf, above, that I made myself just over 11 years ago. So soft and delicious! When the kids and I drove up from Virginia Beach to Jamestown, New York, the following winter to visit my sister and her family, Stacey was gushing about how much she loved it when she saw it (and felt it!) on me. So I took it right off and gave it to her. Now that I'm writing about it again, I'm feeling the itch to make myself another one! That idea certainly gets my juices flowing. 😉


The Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy

I could name a plethora of other things that make life worth living for me, so maybe I'll just list a few but without the graphics: falling in love; traveling and seeing ancient architecture like Rome's fountains and the Colosseum; standing in holy places like Vatican City (even if it doesn't align with my own spiritual journey); meeting people from all over the world and getting a wide-eyed view of the United States from them as well as direct insight into their cultures; skipping and laughing with one or more of my children...

Oh. Apparently I could go on and on about this question! And that is a good thing, really - at least for me if not for you - so I can refer to this when I'm sinking down into the deep depressive states of my bipolar disorder. I'll just have to pull up this post and remember all the things, such as these, that bring me joy. ♥

5. What life lesson did you learn the hard way?

Image result for running away from problems quote

It's only recently that I've realized my usual "fight or flight" response is flight, and so I end up running away from my problems all over again. Thinking back, I've been doing this since at least the age of 15 or 16. Thankfully, I'm working on my life history in intense therapy with a highly-qualified therapist, so I'm aiming for the heart of the beast now. Finally.

Also, this is a good lesson to learn:

Image result for running away from problems quote

6. What do you wish you spent more time doing five years ago?

Related image

Laughing!! We were smack-dab in the middle of when Hubs was going through his brain tumor & surgery stuff, and that was definitely not a fun time.

7. Do you ask enough questions or do you settle for what you know?

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Enough questions? Are we discounting the idea of too many questions? I've been told by several teachers and professors that I was going into the right line of work, as a scientist, because I have the natural inquisitiveness of a child. I'm always asking questions. I laugh and say, "Sorry, I'm just nosy," when I feel like I'm doing it too much, but honestly I just really like finding things out. People, things, events, facts... they interest me!

8. Whom do you love and what are you doing about it?

Christmas Collage

In addition to a mighty bunch of great friends, I love these kiddos of mine (gratuitous photo of them as much younger kiddos below) - 

Christmas 2008

  • I love these kids!! And...

Bobby collage

...and, I'm pretty much cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs for this silly man!

What I'm doing about it is working on improving myself more and more, physically, mentally, and emotionally, so that I can be the best mom, wife, and friend I can be!

9. What’s a belief that you hold with which many people disagree?

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I'm not touching that with a 10' pole! No way.

10. What can you do today that you were not capable of a year ago?

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I can see and understand a lot more things about myself that I just couldn't see this time last year - or maybe ever?

11. Do you think crying is a sign of weakness or strength?

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Neither; it's a sign of being human. Of being alive. Of being a sentient creature.

12. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?

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I'd express my sillier, goofier side more in public.

13. Do you celebrate the things you do have?

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Oh, most definitely! I've talked about many of my rich blessings already on this post. Plus I have loads of delicious yarns with which to knit, and occasionally crochet. I do try to keep the positive perspective!

14. What is the difference between living and existing?

I seem to be a bit of a Meme Queen, so that's how I'll sum up my feelings on the matter:

Image result for living or existing Image result for living or existing Image result for living or existing Image result for living or existing Image result for living or existing Image result for living or existing

15. If not now, then when?

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Now. Definitely, now.

16. Have you done anything lately worth remembering?

03232019 Jack's Cake made by Chloë

Well, we celebrated our twin boys' 16th birthday two days ago, the same day our offer was accepted on a new house, so yeah! I guess so!

17. What does your joy look like today?


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Pretty calm, quiet day. My body let me sleep in today, well past noon. We're all sitting around, relaxing, binge-watching NCIS: Los Angeles, and canoodling with our various pets. Paco and Tapi (our puppies, above) are going back and forth between Sophia and me. Chloë is petting her gorgeous cat, Pepper (also above). And Jack is cuddling with his Rex rabbit, Mocha, who is crazy-soft. He feels like velvet!

18. Is it possible to lie without saying a word?

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Of course it is.

19. If you had a friend who spoke to you in the same way that you sometimes speak to yourself, how long would you allow this person to be your friend?

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Hopefully not very long. I'm very hard on myself, all the time. Cruel, even. I'm working on that.

20. Which activities make you lose track of time?

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Many things, but most of all, communing with nature. If I didn't have to live in a house, I wouldn't. I guess technically, I could do without a house, but none of the rest of Team Odette would go along with that!


That was fun. But long! Phew! I'm glad y'all stopped by. I actually wrote it down on my "To-Do" list to come around and visit all of you, but it may take me the full week. I hope I accomplish it, because I miss doing that!


Saturday/Sunday Mash-Up


Hey kids, what are we all talking about in here? Can I join?

Well, if you came to read Sunday Stealing, you've come to the right place. Aaaaand... because I forgot what day it was yesterday, Saturday 9 is here, too. I've missed a couple weeks, I think.

We've had a lot of wildfires this summer, and my asthma was horiblé. Now that weather conditions have improved, I'm breathing easier again. (Rob totally brought me to the ER because I couldn't breathe and thought I had pneumonia, but it was an asthma attack! I felt so dumb. But in my defense, something I've had my whole life didn't get properly diagnosed until last year!)

Time to get started with this week's Saturday 9.


She Works Hard for the Money (1983) 

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

1) This song is about a woman who works hard as a waitress. What's the hardest job you've ever had?

After thinking about this for a minute, I'd have to say teaching freshman biology while I was working on my PhD at USF. That was really the first time I truly had to confront my weaknesses in academia. I found out quickly that teaching was hard. Like, hard hard. It was a totally new kind of challenge for me.

2) The lyrics tell us she has worked at this job for 28 years. What's the longest you stayed with one employer?

Other than motherhood (It'll be 17 years this Friday!), it would have to be working at various Publix supermarkets in Florida. Three different ones: in Coral Gables, in St. Petersburg, and then again in Panama City Beach. I liked it more than teaching! Heh.

3) Donna Summer was inspired to write this song during an awards show. She ducked into the bathroom and met the elderly ladies' room attendant, whose job it was to make sure the room the spotless, the complimentary hairspray and moisturizer was abundant, and there was a hot towel for every celebrity who used the facilities. "Wow," Donna thought, "she works hard for those tips." Who is the last person you tipped?

I feel like it's been kind of a while. Maybe it was the pizza delivery guy from Pie Hole? I think so. We'll go with that.

4) Early in her career, Donna was in the touring company of the musical Hair. It played in Munich for so long that she became fluent in German. What's the longest you have ever lived away from home?


Well, that's hard to say. I've never had a home that I've wanted to go back to after I left! I have no parents' house to return to when I'm sad or down and out or anything, so... I guess I'll use this concept a little loosely. When Rob and I got married, and Chloë was a wee babe, we moved to Guam for four months. Just four months!
5) Sam's dad is naturally outgoing and enjoys striking up conversations with waitresses, librarians, the checker at the supermarket, etc. Sam is always polite but more private. Are you more like father or daughter?

Image may contain: Bob Simmons, closeup

Look at this guy, blowing a kiss! That's actually his Facebook profile picture! That's my dad. He strikes up conversations with everybody, too - and this lecherous old man also flirts - hard - with any cute young thing. Ugh. I'm an extroverted (but not much) introvert, so I'm more like daughter.

6) A little more than 10% of the American workforce is self-employed. Have you ever been your own boss?

I've done various things over the years. Like... back when we lived in Virginia Beach, I had a dessert business. However, I quickly learned that rather than something like this:

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I'm better at smaller desserts more like this:

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And now I want to make some petit fours! Too bad I sold off almost all of my baking tools when we moved to Miami and becoming broke was no joke!

7) Labor Day weekend may offer a golden opportunity for napping and sleeping in. Do you snore?

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I love how it's always the women complaining about their husbands snoring! Why is that a thing? LOL... Yes, I snore; my hubs rarely does!

8) Will you be attending a Labor Day picnic or barbecue? 

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Y'know, I don't think so? But we will be going down to celebrate Japan Day at the local Basque Center (just trust me), so that will be fun. I hadn't even thought about what to do after that!

9) Labor Day traditionally marks the beginning of the fall. Will you be adding any new fall clothes to your wardrobe?

Image result for Restyle thrift store boise

I'm sure I will. Every season we all (except Jack; he just wants me to pick out his clothes for him) go to the local ReStyle Animal Rescue Thrift Store. It's like this: they have a punch card. For every 5 donations AND 5 $10 in purchases, you get 50% off your entire next order. And every day, their great quality but already-low prices go even further down, with a different color tag being some percentage off for that day. And on top of that, we get a military discount! So I the girls shop 'til we drop and then come home and show the boys our goods. It's fun!


Well that was a good one, Sam! Thanks for the fun! I've been distracted by watching Chip and Joanna Gaines on Fixer Upper this morning. I'm very new (like, as of this summer) to their show, but it didn't take long for me to fall in love with them! He's so cute to her.


Time for some Sunday Stealing, which this week is oddly named Freaky Poptart! (Click the links to see other players' answers.)


What is one thing that you would change about yourself if you could?

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There is not a lot about me I'd keep! I'm not my own biggest fan. But I would definitely change my temper. I'd love to be more mild-mannered than I am.

Name three exotic countries you would like to visit:

Image result for Japan Image result for Australia Image result for argentina

I would visit Japan, Australia, and Argentina! Oh, hell, I'll go anywhere 'long as you're buyin'!

What do you think the secret to life is?

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I think the secret really is that you have to bring joy to others. The more joy you give out, the more joy that ;,; ,mcomes back to you. It's the good kind of vicious-cycle. I try to develop that sense of joy in each of my kids. (Although it's pretty hard for Jack.)

Best concert: 

Image result for bob dylan baseball concert norfolk virginia

I'd have to say it was the Bob Dylan * John Mellencamp * Willie Nelson concert at the Norfolk Tides' baseball field back in Virginia. Bob Dylan is a huge favorite of Rob's, and he really wanted to go see them play. I was so thrilled to be able to take him, and he had a great time. I even liked their opening act, The Wiyos!

Song you can listen to over and over and not get tired of: 

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That changes all the time, but lately it has been "Girls Like You" by Maroon 5; I even like the Cardi B bit, and I'm not a huge Cardi B fan. It's catchy!

Worst movie music soundtrack or score: 

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My mind is a blank on this one.

A song you wish wouldn't get stuck in your head but always does: 

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Have you heard the Wayfair jingle on their commercials? There's a ton of them every commercial break on HGTV, it's so annoying... but also catchy.

Who was your FIRST date?

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It was this guy, Ken, who was a year ahead of me in school. We went to the movies. I don't remember what we saw. Soon after that, we met up at this mall near my house, which was a total ghost town by that point... my first kiss. Now I know he is the biggest a-hole, but eh. You gotta know what bad is before you can realize how good good is, right?

Image result for heart And Rob is GOOD. Image result for heart

Do you still talk to your FIRST love?

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Yeah, Ben and I are still Facebook friends... although I guess I've been asleep at that wheel, because it appears he just got married?!! I'm so shocked!

What was your FIRST alcoholic drink?

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In my Senior year of high school, my older friends from work used to take me out a lot wherever they went - including to bars. I mean, I was only 17, so their trick was to get me drunk on shots of Goldschläger at one of their homes before going out to drink some more. We had a lot of fun times, and we made a lot of memories, but I obviously don't recommend that! I have more than one Goldschläger story. So, I don't like the smell of cinnamon much anymore! Image result for winky face

What was your FIRST job?

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I did a lot of babysitting first, but my first actual paycheck was from BigM market in Baldwinsville, New York. Fun times; I loved it and, for a while, my best friend Lisa worked in the deli while I ran the cash register. (I've worked in a lot of grocery stores! Winn-Dixie, too, in South Carolina - oh and also, for two days, Fred Meyer here in Boise!)

What was your FIRST car?

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This picture almost makes me cry. I bought a red 1991 Ford Escort wagon in September 1993, when I was starting Senior year. My father basically stole it from me. It's not a happy memory.

Where did you go on your FIRST ride on an airplane?

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Hm. I've been flying since birth practically, so I don't even really know! When we moved to Syracuse from Monroe, New York, we started flying back and forth to my mom's parents in New Jersey a lot. But I think we I had to have flown since I was knee-high to a grasshopper.

Who was your FIRST best friend & do you still talk?

My first two best friends were my sister Stacey our babysitter's daughter, Ursula. This is my sister with her (now about grown) daughters:

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and this is my friend Ursula with her beautiful family:

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And yes, I still talk to both.

Whose wedding did you attend the FIRST time?

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It was my dad's to his new (now ex-) wife a year after my mother died. (They started dating three months after Mom died, and he still says my mom was his real true love, etc. Right, right.) My dress was pink; I think Stacey's was peach, Aarin (younger step-sister) had a blue one, and Mindy (older step-sister) wore purple. All matching but different pastel colors. Gag me. (Maybe that's why I hate pastel so much!)

Tell us about your FIRST roommate.

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That would be Jen from Rochester, when we were freshman dorm-mates at the University of Miami. We hit it off right away and had a lot of fun. We are not still friends.

If you had one wish, what would it be (other than more wishes)?

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I wish I didn't have to live in a world where my neighbors didn't keep taking the COEXIST sticker off my car! Because, y'know, they're the people that need to read it and heed it. (And then I wish we had a house of our own, again.)

Back of car

What is something you would learn if you had the chance?

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The girls and I are learning Latin together this year. I thought I would have a disadvantage over them because of speaking Spanish, but I really don't! In fact, Chloe is beating both of us, and Sophie is neck-and-neck with me. If I could, I would learn every language spoken in this world.

Did you marry the FIRST person you were in love with?

Nope, I married this dork:

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 He's so cheerful!

What were the first lessons you ever took and why? 

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These probably weren't my first lessons but the first ones I remember. After my mom died, she left her electric organ, like this one, behind. I couldn't bear to see it and let it just go to waste, so to help me keep my mother alive in my heart, I begged my dad to let me take lessons and use it. I did for a couple of years, but I never got terribly good at it. Then my stepmother came along, decided she didn't want it around anymore, and bought a sleek baby grand piano to put there instead. And she couldn't even play! F**k her.

What is the first thing you do when you get home? 

Front entry

The first thing I do when I walk in is hang up my keys on "the fish." See that arrow? Same thing, every time. On the other hand, when Rob drives, he never hangs up the keys, and they are often missing after that. Also, that fish is supposed to be for keys. Not multiple baseball hats, not multiple dog leashes, but keys. Although now that I have one of my girls' leis from Boise Pride hanging on my hook, I guess I can't say too much!


Ahhh, finally done. That was fun, but because I'm distracted by Fixer Upper, it's taken me forever! Man, I wish we could afford a fixer upper. And Chip and Joanna Gaines, of course.



Shout out of thanks! It was so unexpected when something from our daughter's Amazon wishlist, for her spendy Art program this year, showed up in the mail from you! I was moved to tears, so touched I was. Sophia was shocked, too. Thank you so much for doing that! Our fundraiser has kind of stalled out at $50 donated, and we still have several supplies and about $200 for the course left to go, so we were absolutely grateful for the help. You know who you are - you rock!


Saturday 9: The Nanny

Image result for fran drescher as the nanny cartoon

Heyyy! The Nanny! This used to be one of my favorite shows from the '90s. I still know most of the theme song. My favorite lyrics are toward the end: ♪ ♫ "She had style! She had flair! She was there! That's how she became... The Nannyyyyy!" ♫ ♪

Glad to have y'all back again this week. Link up here if you're playing along today!


Saturday 9: The Nanny (1993)

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

1) This week's song is the theme from a sitcom that originally aired from 1993 to 1999. Were you a fan?

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Oh, yes. I watched it all the time. And I had a huge crush on Mr. Sheffield!

2) The song tells us that Fran once worked in a bridal shop. Have you ever worked in a retail setting?

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Oh, yes. Besides working for a number of years in three or four different successful grocery store chains, along with a stint at a gas station (which sucked), I was the dive shop manager for the dive operation on Key Biscayne, Florida, where I received my Open Water SCUBA certification. I did it all. 

3) The kids in the Sheffield household appreciate their nanny's "joie de vivre," which is defined as "exuberant enjoyment of life." Are you feeling joie de vivre this morning? 

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I'm trying, I'm really trying, but I do have this agonizing tooth pain for which I'm on painkillers and antibiotics. I want them to just pull that eff-er! Hell, pull 'em all and give me dentures! I'm down with it! ;)

4) "The Nanny" is the colorful one, the one who wears red when everyone else wears tan. What color do you think you look best in?

Image may contain: one or more people, sunglasses, stripes, outdoor and closeup Image may contain: Melanie Odette, smiling, indoor Image may contain: Melanie Odette, smiling, eyeglasses and closeup Image may contain: 1 person, sunglasses and closeup Image may contain: Melanie Odette, smiling Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling

I definitely feel like I look best in RED, but I think BLACK is my color, too. But I wear all kinds of colors, because life is too short for me to wear bland clothing. :P

5) The TV show, The Nanny, was the brainchild of actress Fran Drescher. She got the idea while visiting an old friend in London. Her friend's pre-teen daughter enjoyed having Fran as a confidante and shopping buddy. Do you enjoy shopping as a leisure activity? Or would you prefer to just dash into a store, grab what you need, and get out and go home?

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I prefer to dash and go, but if I have the money to spend, I don't mind browsing a little. I don't want to be in there looking around all day or anything: BORING!

6) The friend Fran was visiting in London was Twiggy, who was the world's most famous model in the 1960s. Name another famous model.

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Ms. Tyra Banks, for one, is quite lovely to behold.

7) The Nanny: The Complete Series is available on DVD on Amazon. It consists of 19 discs and takes 55 hours to watch, start to finish. What TV show have you recently binge watched?

I'm kind of going back and forth between two shows that I'm binge-watching:

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The always-hilarious Bob's Burgers, and:

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Cake Wars, which, if nothing else, serves to remind me how much talent and skill I did not possess during my stint as a cake shoppe owner! And it makes me hungry for cake. ;)

8) The Nanny theme was sung by Liz Callaway. Her father, the late John Callaway, was a long-time Chicago newscaster. Have you, or has a loved one, ever been on TV?

A Haunting

Yeah, my daugher Chloë has been on a number of things on TV, most notably an episode of A Haunting, which you can rent to watch on Amazon.com if you wish. ;) She's been in lots of other things, and she could probably "hit it big," but she's decided she no longer wants to act.

9) Random question -- Which of these adjectives comes closest to describing you: sexy, sophisticated or down-to-earth?

Profile Picture

In the past, I'd have liked to have said "sexy," but I no longer feel that fits. Definitely not sophisticated. I guess that leaves down-to-earth for me! I think I am pretty approachable...


Thanks for a fun meme, Crazy Sam!


P.S. We have a small GoFundMe account, wherein we are trying to raise the funds for the courses and material supplies for my younger artist daughter, Sophia, for this coming homeschool year. We need just $300 more to purchase everything that's left, including the courses. More information can be found here:


OR, the Amazon Wish List for the supplies can be found here:



So if you have a look at either, we'd be grateful if you could either donate or share with your followers. Thank you!!

Saturday 9: Love Is All Around

Welcome back! I nearly forgot it was Saturday!

Link up here if you want to play along today.

Without further ado, let's begin:


Saturday 9: Love Is All Around (1970)

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

1) This week's song is the theme from The Mary Tyler Moore Show, a sitcom that originally aired from 1970 to 1977. Were you a fan?

I'm sorry, I don't really think I've ever watched it. (I was born in 1976.)

2) The song tells us that Mary Richards can turn the world on with her smile. Yet the real-life Mary Tyler Moore said she was uncomfortable with her "wide mouth." If you could improve on one of your facial features, which would you choose?


I really don't have much of a lower jaw; I feel like I have no chin! In fact, I used to say that I married my husband for his strong jaw, and he married me for my flat ears.

3) We also hear that Mary can "take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile." What do you think makes a day "a nothing day?"

A day for me would be a day in which I get absolutely nothing accomplished. I like to be constantly busy and really don't know how to relax. [With ME/CFS (if that is in fact my diagnosis, and it's looking more and more like it should be), this makes life challenging.]

4) Mary works in the newsroom at WJM. Her desk is neat as a pin. Are you neat? Or do you lean to the sloppy side?

In 7th grade, my English teacher, Mrs. Trainham, talked to us about there being some people who are boxes, and some people who are squiggles - without defining either. She then asked us to sit for a minute and think about the question, "Are you a box or a squiggle?" before going around the class to say which we thought we were and why. I decided then that I'm neither, but I've yet to determine whether I'm a boxy squiggle or a squiggly box. Does that answer the question?

5) Mary's best friend, Rhoda, worked as a window dresser at Hempel's department store. What department store did you most recently shop at? What did you buy?

The other day, a box from Kohl's showed up. I did not remember ordering from Kohl's. We opened it. There were clothes for Sophia, Chloë, and me (not a lot, just one or two things each). I did not remember ordering these clothes. Chloë thought she remembered one item, so I let her try it on, and it fit. So did a dress. Sophia fit the two pairs of joggers, and I figured the cardigan must be for me since I've been wanting one lately. It's becoming quite disconcerting lately how often I can't remember things like this that you'd think I would!

6) Mary Richards lived in Minneapolis. What city is nearest to where you are right now?

Boise, where I live, is the largest city in Idaho. (It pales in comparison to the other cities in or near which I've lived: New York City and Syracuse in New York; Aiken in South Carolina;  all over Miami, St. Petersburg, Tampa, and Panama City Beach in Florida; Virginia Beach in Virginia...  the one place that's smaller is Yigo, on Guam!) I think of it more as a large town than a small city.

7) Originally the part of Mary Richards was written as a divorcée, but in 1970, there were no TV shows that centered around a divorced woman. Think about the women in your life. Are most of them married, divorced, single or widowed?

I would have to say that most of them are married.

8) The MTM production company logo featured a mewing kitten. The cat was found in a Minneapolis shelter, and, after her sequence was shot, she was adopted by a crew member who named her Mimsie. What's the name of the last cat -- or dog or hamster or rabbit -- that you petted?

Pepper 007

This beautiful, big Maine Coon, Pepper, who belongs to Chloë.

9) Random question -- Would you rather have a job that kept you seated on your fanny or standing on your feet?

Well, if you had asked me that 20 - or even five! - years ago, I'd have said my feet. The good days now are ones that I'm even upright.


Now I have to go figure out why I'm starving, watching Food Network, and it's still two days until payday - and thus grocery day! Not smart! I'm watching back-to-back-to-back-to-back Cake Wars on my DVR, and my chief complaints are that: 1. From owning my own cake business back in Virginia Beach, I've long since figured out that many elements of this show have got to be staged; and 2.  I'm irritated by the number of people from all over who say "ah-mond" instead of pronouncing the L in almond. Whyyyy?

Thanks for stopping by!


Saturday 9: Some Guys Have All The Luck

Ahhh, 80s baby here! I used to love this song, and I'm excited it was picked! Also yes, I know it's not Saturday. Yesterday was an awful day for me healthwise, so I took it off. Anyway...

Link up here if you wanted to play along yesterday but couldn't do it. Like me! ;)


Saturday 9: Some Guys Have All the Luck (1984)
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) Do you consider yourself lucky?
Image result for lucky meme
Lucky? No, not me. I sometimes have seemingly "lucky" things happen to me, but to be honest, I'm not sure I truly even believe in luck.

2) When did you last risk money in a game of chance (lottery, raffle ticket, slot machine, etc.)? How did you do?
Image result for casino funny
I'm not sure, but I think the last time I took to the casino or anything like that was in October 2006, when we were on a cruise with some of our extended family. I dropped about ten bucks on chips and played the slot machine. I quickly lost that and took my leave!

3)  There's a major football game this weekend. Will you be watching? Do you have any money riding on the outcome? 
Image result for patriots vs falcons memes

We're going to a Super Bowl party at our church tonight to watch the game. I'm excited! I've never actually been to any game-watch party, let alone the Super Bowl! Maybe I'm a loser? Anyway, I hope it'll be way fun. Much less stressful than, and a great break from, all the political BS coming out of D.C. lately...
4) The composer of this song, Jeff Fortgang, is an interesting guy who's had two disparate careers: first pop musician, then Yale-educated clinical psychologist. It's possible that many of the patients who see him for help with anxiety or depression have no idea that he wrote this song. What's something your coworkers (or, if you're not working, casual friends) would be surprised to know about you?
Well, I'm an over-sharer on social media (I try to contain myself but have no real filter, so it's hard), so there would not be much. However, I do think some people would be shocked about how much I don't share. They probably think it's none, but it's way more than lots. ;)

5) Similarly, fans are often surprised to learn that this week's featured artist, Rod Stewart, is a history buff who loves reading about WWII. Is there a period of time or historic event that has captured your interest?

Image result for real life sock hop
I'd love to go back to the '50s and dance in a good, old-fashioned sock hop. What fun!
6) Rod met his current wife as the result of a dare. Penny Lancaster, then in her 20s, spotted the decades-older celebrity in a bar and only approached him because her friends bet her she didn't have the guts to talk to him. Are you, like Penny, vulnerable to peer pressure? Can your friends talk you into doing things you might not otherwise do?
Usually not. On the other hand, if I'm comfortable with the group I'm in, I ofted get amped up enough to go do shit on my own - with or without my friends' daring me to do it! 

7) Rod vividly recalls being 11 years old and going to see  Little Richard perform in a film comedy called The Girl Can't Help It. When you were a kid, did you enjoy going to the movies? What do you recall seeing?
Image result for bambi movie at the drive-in
Oh, I have fantastic memories of going to the drive-in movies with mom and dad! The first two movies, which I still love, that I can remember seeing were E.T. The Extra Terrestrial and Bambi. Stacey (sister) and I would sit in the back of the car eating M&Ms and other snacks, and when my parents thought we'd fallen asleep, they started smooching. Haha!

8) The lyrics tell of when Rod's car overheats and he calls a friend, who doesn't come through. Tell us about a time recently when you were there and helped a buddy out.
Image result for publix Frozen birthday cakes for girls
Note: This not the actual cake, but she'll get one similar to it.
My good friend, Domenica, doesn't have a car, and she needed to order a 4th birthday cake for her daughter, Emma. She was going to walk the nearest Publix and does that all the time, no problem. But she's pregnant and having some issues with that, so Chloë and I drove over to pick them up. Domenica and Emma ran with us to our local, organic CSA share farm and then to Publix to order the cake. Also:
Domenica and Chloë glommed onto the cupcake display case at the bakery and could not resist getting a couple of tasty treats for themselves! (And yes, I 'stole' a bit of Chloë's delicious cupcake, despite the fact that I can not have anything in it! Delicioso!)

9) The lyrics mention that "some guys do nothing but complain." Who do you know who is like that? Do you have a friend, relative or coworker who just always seems to find fault?

If I had a friend like that, always finding fault, they probably would not be my friend in the first place. I had enough of that growing up with my wicked stepmother. I complain, but honestly I just do it to hear myself talk! ha! I'm like my grandpa that way.


Thanks for stopping by! Have a great Super Bowl Sunday.


Sunday Stealing: Carry A Tune Meme

Link up here if you're playing along today!

Cheers to all of us thieves!!! 

Carry A Tune Meme

Stolen from: Love me some surveys


Do you own a tablet of any kind? 

No, but if I did, I'd want a triangular one like Dwight has. My kids all have tabs, but I can't stand the smaller computing devices, personally...

What’s something people always assume about you that isn’t true? 

am quite an airhead, actually, but I'm not dumb. I just come off that way. I'm more like the absent-minded professor type.

On a scale of 1-10, how much do elevators scare you?

Elevators don't scare me at all, actually. I'm the weirdo that jumps when the carriage hits the ground floor, to feel the sensation. Not lately, of course; I'd probably pass out. But usually!

When you’re upset, do you vent to people or do you keep to yourself?

It depends on how comfortable with them I am. I'm a complete introvert, but I come out of my shell when I develop a certain level of comfort. Few people see me at that level, so I normally bottle it up and then vent it to Hubs. With Hubs, though, I just let loose!

Have you ever watched a meteor shower

I haven't seen a complete shower, like this one; just or two "shooting stars."

Do you tend to put things off until the last minute? 

Often, yes. But I can turn out some kick-ass work at the end of that deadline, so normally it's a win-win.

How do you react to random strangers suddenly trying to make conversation with you?

OMG. I absolutely loathe small talk with people I have just met or barely know. I suck at it. Who flippin' cares?!?!

Do you have a lucky number? 

From the time I can remember, maybe about three years old, I chose 64 as my lucky, favorite number. I have no idea why or where that came from. All I know is that I am very mathematically inclined, and I love that about my younger self. Why? Because 64 is a perfect square, and it is made up of other perfect squares: 4 and 16. There's more, but I'll stop there. This number is significant in my life, and you may soon learn why!

Would you go out to dinner with Oprah?

Sure! I admire her. As long as she doesn't bring a cold. I already have a compromised immune system.

Did you ever play sports? 

Yeah, no. I'd be like the guy in the middle. I was a dancer, but I didn't play any sports for school, for example.

Do you feel guilty if you throw food away?

Oh God, yes. It was just about beaten into my head that waste of any kind was bad, bad, bad. I now abhor wasting, and occasionally now, I feel guilty because my kids think they must make use of everything or I'll get mad. Only occasionally, like I said, but it's a teachable moment - for me.

Do you think you could make it as a baker?

LOL. That's an older picture of my daughter Sophia, who'll be 11 in April. We like to bake, lots and lots, and I even attempted to have my own dessert business once. It was semi-successful, but I just couldn't devote as much time to it as it required. I think I could definitely be successful with it full-time, though.

Are you one of those people who are wearing scarves with everything? 

Nope! I don't get why that's such a huge trend, but it is, so whatever. I guess I just like as little restraining of my neck as possible?

Have you ever been in a castle? 

Only Cinderella's castle in WDW!

When you were little, did you ever play with Play-doh?

Hahaha, that's hilarious! Yes, of course I played with Play-Doh! But never at my own house; Dad didn't want the mess. :\

Would you rather write a mystery or love story?

What about a mystery love story? Anyway, probably a love story, since I'm such a mush, but I don't know if that will ever happen. I'm still working on that dang first novel (but I do have one book ready for editing and illustrating)!

Tell me about your worst fashion mistake: 

It probably happens every day! I am no slave to fashion. I wear what fits and is comfortable. If it looks good, too, then it's purely unintentional.

Do you hate it when people smoke around you?

Um, yeah. Just a little bit. :\

How are you wearing your hair right now?

When I blow it out, which is never, it looks a lot like Keira Knightley's, here. But with bangs. So, yeah.

When’s the last time you were sick? 

I'm always sick, but I'm at my sickest just about right now. Hubs says there should be a Venn diagram of all the autoimmune diseases in separate circles, with ME in the overlap center. It's not a good time for me...

Would you rather have OJ or milk with your breakfast?


I hope you meant orange juice, because I'm lactose-intolerant. I can only have one or two sips, and only before I start eating, please. (Yes, I am this much of a pain.)

What were you doing thirty minutes ago? 

Sleeping. Poorly, but sleeping.

Do you own any school-related clothing articles? 

I own a thing or seventeen with my alma mater's colors on it. Go 'Canes!

Would you rather call people or have them call you?

Oh no, please don't call me. I'll call you. Maybe. On, like, the fifth of never...

Can you carry a tune?

I do all right. When I'm not sick. Which is forever. So, um...?

Who was the last person who unexpectedly texted you? 

My sister, Stacy ♥

Whom do you text the most?


Hubs and I text each other all the time. Sure, most of the time we are next to each other, but once your kids are well past the spelling stage of getting secrets passed, you have to resort to texting. Hee.


Yay, I finished a post. Granted, it was a prompt, but hey, it took work to look up those memes! ;)

Thanks for stopping by!


How 'Bout A Picture?



Those are Jack's hands on mine; they're tiny, as my hands are small, but how they've grown since he was an itty-bitty 2-lb, 10-oz newborn! On Saturday night, Chloë, Rob and I spent hours looking at Jack's baby book. Of course, as there are numerous references to Robby in the book, it was difficult and caused many tears among us, but it was well worth the unexpected trip down memory lane.


After the hands photo, we mugged for the camera together. Jack rarely does this with me, so such a photo is cause for celebration for his mom! I had to post it on Instagram, even if my face is hormonally broken out at the moment! 


We all got up and went to the 10 AM service on Sunday morning, our second as a full family and my fourth time since moving to Miami. We're having a series on being happy, which is great, as I've renewed my quest for happiness and have re-started my work on Happify, too. I had my second session with my new psychotherapist on Tuesday, so it seems like this is all coming together at once.

(I gotta confess, though, that the thought of losing my Dark Passenger, as Dexter calls it, makes me a little worried that I'll lose the creative spark behind the book I'm writing.)


Chloë wanted to help me make dinner on Monday night, so we dug around in the fridge and freezer and found a goodly portion of organic chicken breasts, organic onions, and organic fava beans to cook. Also, I've mentioned the ubiquitious curbside flower vendors on many a Miami street - most notably Calle Ocho aka Tamiami Trail aka 8th Street - but I neglected to mention that many folks are out there selling fruits, too. I purchased a big bag of limes for two bucks the other day, and with those, a meal was made.


Jack and Sophia were excited for the dinner to be ready, because it smelt so good in our home while cooking. They eagerly cleared and set the table, so we could all sit down as a family together. Rob's junk, school papers, and innumerous other crappola has been piled atop our dining table for a week, making such a thing impossible, to my utter dismay. If I knew that cooking chicken in lime juice and adding organic purple potatoes would get them motivated to do some helping out around here, believe me, I'd have done it ages ago!


Jack and Chloë wanted to help me fix dessert for the rest of the fam, too. I couldn't pick what to make, and they couldn't agree between these strawberry tartlets we made first and the next dessert to be shown - so we made both! This one was a concoction inspired by Jack pulling the leftover phyllo dough out of the freezer (I think I used the rest of it at Thanksgiving, but I can't properly recall now) and a search on AllRecipes for "lime dessert" to make use of those limes. As you can see, no limes were actually harmed in the making of this gelatinized stawberry confection, but that's okay because now we still have some for next time!

The phyllo dough, which I should have photographed before baking and filling, was pinched into little cuplets from flat sheets. They didn't look nearly so pretty after a minute or ten in the oven, but these thingies tasted delectable! So much so, I binged on two of them (and regretted that almost immediately).


The other dessert, for which Chloë pushed, was a chocolate cake for her dad. We couldn't remember if I'd ever made him one for his birthday - it's his standard celebratory cake - but he'd been requesting one for a few months. I had just never gotten 'round to it, so that was the night. We topped it with a glaze I made simply and some sideways-sliced strawberries we'd gotten at Wally earlier in the evening. I dipped my finger in the glaze and decided it was ghastly, but to my surprise, even the frosting-loathing Rob liked it. To each his own.


On Tuesday and Wednesday, amidst many a Math-U-See lesson and writing letters to family, I worked on the collection sheets for Sweet Pea Academy's Spring Labels for Education submission. We've amassed over 5,000 points this year, which I don't know but I think is great for a small homeschooling family. The kids helped me collect, trim, and bank them, so I let them help me pick what to get, as usual: a pair of binoculars for each of them, a Lemon Twist something-or-other set (from the "Athletics" section, it's the doo-hickey that has a ring on one end for going around an ankle whilst the wearer jumps over the attached cord and ball), and a microphone. Something for Arts, something for Athletics, and something for Academics. I like it!

This has been a long week of nothing scheduled but schooling, and it's been a productive one. I've been rethinking putting them in public school next year. I think, at this moment anyway, we shall keep at it. And I'm joyed by this thought.


Wordless Wednesday: Baking It Up!

Link up on 5 Minutes for Mom if you're Wordless (or not, whatever) today!


I've been knitting the doll sweaters I mentioned in a previous post, so when I got paid for the latest batch, I decided to spend a small portion of the money on some delicious desserts for my family. I love to bake, and my friend Erica has been talking about these a lot lately, so I was first inspired to make this yummy Angel Food cake. I added some freshly whipped cream and juicy red raspberries to make it a wee bit more nutritious. I had never made one before, and it was HUGE hit with the kids. Chloë, my oldest, even said it was the best cake she'd ever had!


Jack, my 10-year-old son, asked for a cheesecake while I was baking the Angel Food (I hadn't told them what it would be, and he was hoping), so I baked that the following day. Of course, I like to make a huge, New York-style kind like I had growing up in that state, and I topped it high with fresh strawberries for a punch of color and nutrition. Personally, I was a little disappointed in it as it felt a little gritty and less creamy than I wanted, but my standards for cheesecake are extremely high. Everyone else loved it, and they devoured it within two days!

What have you been cooking up lately?


Saturday 9: Easy


Link up here if you're feelin' "easy" today!

1. Have you ever had a romantic breakup that was easy?
Easy on me, yes. Easy on him/us... hmm, no, I don't think there was one that was "easy" all the way around.
2. When was the first time that you felt betrayed?
Oh, gosh. So many times, I'd have to do some deep thinking to put them in chronological order. I'll tell you about one time that certainly wasn't the first, nor the worst, though:  My dad gave us each $1,000 toward our first car when it was time to get our driver's licenses at 16. I had saved up about twice as much as that, so we got me a nice red '91 Escort wagon in 1993, when I was a senior in high school and ready to start driving.  He insisted I ONLY practice driving with him. Well, he moved away that Christmas, leaving me alone with The Bitch From Hell (ex-stepma) until graduation. When he came up to get me, and the car, after graduation, we picked up where we left off. Only, he decided I wasn't ready to get my license yet and refused to let me take the car down to Miami for college. Fine. I was mad, but fine. Until he drove it into the ground and had to get rid of it. Little did I know, until I found out much later, that he sold it for more than we paid for it and pocketed all of the cash. I was furious!!
P.S. The next summer, I got my license. Passed on the first try, to his shock and amazement. So there.  And I learned to drive a stick shift without his help and drove that all over Miami, too. So there!
3. Do you feel religious beliefs should have a role in politics?
I absolutely do not. Well, I don't know. What someone's religious beliefs are in private may influence how I think and feel about him or her as a voter, but those same beliefs should not influence policy-making on his/her part. Is that unfair?
4. Are you doing anything special this weekend?
Yes! We are taking my son to his Pinewood Derby race tomorrow morning. He won first place in his Bear den AND the overall Pack race, so tomorrow he's racing against the whole District. We're hoping for a third win! :D
5. Oreo cookies turned 100 years old this week. How do YOU eat an Oreo?
I don't, anymore, but before, I would shove half a bag in my mouth all at once. Barely an exaggeration, sadly.
6. If you could change something about yourself, what would it be?
Physically, I would get a full body lift that I desperately need. Otherwise, I would rid myself of the scourge that is Bi-Polar Disorder. I do not embrace this disease as "part of me"; rather, I resent it and all that comes with it, and I would do anything to "cure" it.
7. Describe a time when you should have tried harder.
Hmm... I guess this past year, I should've tried harder to get my baking business going before giving up and switching back to selling Jafra right when things were taking off. I don't know what made me do that. Don't get me wrong; Jafra is an awesome product, but it's not something I created out of my own two hands, and I took so much pride in my work. Except when it failed, which I admit, sometimes it did... but I kept trying! Until I just... stopped. Hmm.
8. What is your favorite baseball-related movie?
A League of Their Own! Love that movie. My sister and I saw it at the theater with my Grandma, who was never a Madonna fan, and I remember her grumbling about Madge being as bad an actor as she was a singer... lol.
9. What is one lesson you have learned in the past year?
I have learned I really need to ask for help when I really need it, and to forgive myself when I mess up. In theory, anyway; putting those things in practice is easier said than done for me.
Ciao for now!

Good Things Of The Many (And The Mail)

Okay, so the mail has brought in packages lately that are of major delightfulness, so the stars of them have been photographed and are ready to share. I've been a busy little bee lately, so I have't had a chance to edit them 'til now. Wanna hear about it? And see some pictorial evidence? Awesome. Read on, then, ye three followers of me.


I totally stink at keeping presents from their recipients when I'm excited about giving them, so I've been, uh, kind of giving the kids the Christmas presents I swore I wasn't going to get (because we're doing Great Wolf Lodge again this year and, you know, I wanted to make it about memories and not stuff and all...), but since I have gotten them, and since, well, they were there when I opened this box from Disney, I couldn't really not gi-- oh, I'll just stop babbling and say that I got a kick-butt deal on these fleece blankets, with free shipping and personalization of their names, to boot! Jack got a Cars-themed one, Chloë's is Cinderella, and Sophia's was Tinkerbell. They LOVED them and carry them around all. the. time. WIN!


Mamacita, which is what MIL and I have decided I shall call her (after 10½ years or so) henceforth, sends us Hallmark Christmas ornaments each year. We have an awesome collection of them, thanks to her. This year's package arrived last week, so we all gathered 'round to see what she chose for us this time. Jack always gets a Santa in some sort of transportation, which thrills him to no end, and this year it was hot air balloon. So cute!



I will say two things: these pictures were taken in my cluttered, messy office-slash-craft room, but my excuse is that things are ALWAYS happening in here, so cut me some slack, will ya? And also, I did a poor job of focusing on the ornaments in several of these photos, but I didn't realize that until today, so since they're already put up in the attic until we set up the tree, I can't fix that. My bad.  Chloë usually gets one to do with the year or her age, ever since birth, and she loves her little snowman guy!


Sophia's was, appropriately, a gymnast - with her name on it!! Love it!! Also, the tiaras the girls are wearing in these two pictures are from the same Grandma package, which is why they're wearing them here. They light up, too!


This one appears to have been handmade, but if there was a note about that, I missed it. Mamacita? I'm guessing it's from the childhood of Rob, at least, since we've gotten a few of those in the past as well. Isn't it cute?


Rob's an angler of great enthusiasm, so he's gotten lots of fishing-related ones over the years from his mama. Too bad the expression on his face took precedence over the ornament, because it's The Awesome. So many of these ornaments have such great detail, and this one is no exception!


Ditto the above, about his (hehe) expression and the clarity of the ornament. Boo, me. He always gets a Navy/military/patriotic-themed one, since he's been in the US Navy for about 18½ years, so this year he got a flagged-out Santy Claus.


I love, love, love, love, LOVE the ornaments Mamacita chose for me - not this year, but every year - because she puts such great thought into them (well, everyone's, not just mine, but you know what I meant, right?). IMHO, I saved the best for last, because look! Apropos of the baking business I started this year (which is on hiatus for the time being, although I'm starting to reconsider that idear), I received a Christmas-themed cupcake ornie. Sweet! (Heh. Sorry, pun-haters.)


Also, since we homeschool, Mamacita gave me this "World Class Teacher" one, with a laptop on the, well, top. I adore this!! So very cool. Thanks, Mom/Grandma, for the wonderful additions to this year's tree!


But that's not all that was in the box. There were a few things I forgot to photo, like the Thanksgiving tablecloth and napkins we put away already, but not this train set for Jack! He immediately opened it and started choo-chooing it all around the office and living room:


(Again, 'scuse my mess!)


Oh! This guy was in the box, too! He'll grace our table this Thursday. Mama-jamma, did you make this?


Oops, speaking of trains, this mini-set of ornaments (or should I say set of mini-ornaments? Yes, pretend I did) was included also, for the whole family's enjoyment. Isn't it darling? Maybe it'll go on the fireplace this year, all set up. Of course, Jack thought it was just for him, since he and his gram share a love of all things train.



I got this fabu book of recipes in the box, and don't you think I should make that gingerbread house? I've never made one, but I want to and think about it every single year. This might just be the one. We shall see, we shall see.


And last, but certainly not least, the kids received another one of these recordable books from Grandma, in which she reads the story aloud to them. This year, it's Under The Same Moon.


Sophia immediately sat down to enjoy the book, but the other kids, who had already danced away to other adventures downstairs, heard it and clamored for share-age. So she traipsed on down there, where they all sat around the book and listened to it approximately 18 times. And no, I'm not exaggerating. For once. They love these books from Grandma.

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My dad sent a small package of trinkets and things for the kids and us, but I only managed to get this one of Sophie with the toy maze things - you know the ones? - she opted to get. She also chose the mini-Bible he sent, which the girls have sat down together to read on several occasions since then. Isn't that lovely?


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I got a package I ordered from Old Navy, but it didn't contain the Christmas outfits I bought, so boo. They better come soon, because they're awesome. I mean, so we can take our holiday card photos ASAP, y'know?? Anway, there were a bunch of shirts I got myself on clearance, as well as four fleece hoodies for the girls, in this package. The lady-babies insisted on trying them on straight away, which is the sole reason I took their picture. Plus, they're cute, are they not?

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And these are the other two. No, I didn't pose the girls; they linked arms of their own volition. ♥ Yes, Sophia is now taller than her sister, who is 3½ years older, which Chloë definitely does not appreciate. Sorry, darling.

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Okay, so technically these three sundaes I made for the chirren didn't come in the mail, but the ice cream, caramel sauce and whipped cream did get delivered by Oberweis, so I'm including them in this post. Can you stand it? They look so good, I want to make (them?) some more right this minute!


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Okay, so I made one for myself, too. I got about five bites in before I passed it to Rob - not because it wasn't delicious, because it was, as is every-dang-thing we have gotten from Oberweis. I didn't want to overdo it, though, because I have such a grumpy pouch!

And that is all. I have to go break up an argument. Oy.


I Dream In Buttercream



Lately I've had several orders come in for You Take The Cake! - which is GREAT except for one very big problem: It's like, 900º out there (and in here), and we currently don't have air conditioning. We have a fan. That's it. You know what doesn't like heat and humidity? Buttercream frosting. You know what cakes are made with, lotsa times? Buttercream frosting. I've had to turn down a few jobs, or at least not pursue them, but I did take on some orders this week that I thought I could fill.

This one, above, was for a gentleman who was helping plan the baby shower for his wife and their first child, a little girl. She had mentioned petits fours to him, so he wanted to get some for her. We settled on 80, for 30 guests. He mostly left the rest up to my discretion, but he mentioned that his wife liked pink and green. So here's the breakdown:

40 Vanilla cakes + 40 Chocolate cakes

Of those, 20 were pink fondant, 20 were white, 20 were green, and 20 were chocolate - 10 of each cake flavor.

Of the vanilla cakes, half were layered with rich buttercream, while the other half were layered with hazelnut chocolate creme.

Of the chocolate, a third was the buttercream, a third was the Nutella (duh), and a third was homemade key lime curd, which turned out to be outrageously delicious. (I have more of that on refrigeration and will be looking for a good usage of it soon!)

The petits fours were oodles and oodles of work. If I'd known how much, I might've charged double! I will remember that in the future. They turned out bigger than I wanted them to be, but I could've easily controlled that. I chose to go with it, and after staying up all night, what, Thursday night, baking the cakes and filling them, I froze them and then spent Friday alternating between making up and dipping them in their various fondant coatings, and working on the baby blocks cake the client also wanted for the main cake, spelling out the baby's name.

As far as the petits fours, I asked my husband over and over if they looked okay, and over and over he said they looked great, very professional, blah blah blah. This man also tells me I have a sexy body, which I clearly do not if you have ever seen me in the nekkitude, so I accepted his assertions only with serious dubiousness. I mean, really, do they look okay?!

Once those were finished, nestled on their foil-covered boards and boxed, I kept them in front of the fan so they wouldn't turn into so many goobly gobs of pink and green poo, and turned my attention to the block cake.

Oh, the block cake. It should have been SO easy. Really, blocks? What's the trouble, bubble?

That damn humidity did a serious number on my buttercream. It just would NOT set. And my cakes, apparently they didn't like the barometric pressure in the house or something, because they kept crumbling in my hands. Which necessitated using MORE buttercream-as-glue to put it back together, and Oh, My Gosh, I literally sat there and cried when I saw that it was not just going to come together.

Other than my Topsy Turvy Cake Wreck (did I ever blog about that? It was fugly, but a fun practice effort), this was the hardest confection I think I have ever tried to put together.

I frantically emailed the daddy and told him of my predicament. He told me, take your time, and let me know if there's anything I can do to help. I retorted something like, "Yeah, bring me a stiff drink," or some such unprofessional inappropriateness.

Long story short, Mr. Client arrived while I was still tearing what's left of my hair out over the blocks cake and weeping in my buttercream, toting a bottle of rum and a, well, a very sexy smile. Rob was asleep upstairs. Whatever. He could have come down at any time and joined us, and we certainly didn't try to be quiet.

We raided my shot glass collection (as he laughed at my Ocean Breeze one, but hey, if I've been there, I want it represented in an inch and a half of two-dollar painted glass), and he poured us each a shot. Woo. I haven't done shots since college, maybe? Or maybe I have, but nothing so burn-y and wow-ee. You know that kind. They were nothing to him, but to li'l ol' me, they were quite the thing.

Of course, being post-gastric bypass, one shot and I was done. Toast. Positively inebriated. So you can imagine how I felt after five. Yes, five. I'm not proud. But it was fun.

In the end, he decided he couldn't accept the blocks cake, because it just didn't work out. And I didn't blame him, because really, it just didn't work out! I'm embarrassed to show you, but of course I'm going to, because that's all you want from me right now:


No, the "N" didn't really lean over that far; it was the angle of the picture. And no, it's not gasp-worthy or anything like that. But it's really, really not terrific.

Honestly, though, I did the best I could under the circumstances. And like Mr. Daddy (that sounds dirty, hee) said, "It's just a cake." He was very chill about the whole thing. You know I was waiting for him to leave so I could pop eleventy-five anti-anxiety pills, which I did, because it was all very stressful.

So in the end, while we did those five shots, I mashed up the cake and made him set up little bitty boxes. I turned the blocks into little cake balls, using the leftover pink fondant from the petits fours, and decorated each with a little pink florette. I told him he could toss those out the window on his way home, use them at the shower, or whatever-the-hell, but just take them to make me feel better.

And so he did.


P.S. I'm making him cookies for his birthday in a couple of weeks, and you know I can kill some cookies. And he promised I haven't lost his business. So it wasn't a total cake-tastrophe. Oh. Did I really just go there? I think I did.

P.P.S. Totally forgot: He said the petits fours were a hit at the shower. So yay. I'm not a total screw-up!

My Name, It Is Melanie

... But some days, it could be changed to "Melancholy." Like this weekend. Saturday, the 18th, was my gran'pappy's 85th birthday, and I was a little weepy with missing him and not being able to call and offer my well-wishes and love.

And today was Father's Day, of course, so I again wasn't able to call Grandpa and wish him a happy day. Furthermore, it would've been my own parents' 40th anniversary. I talked to my dad about it, and the two of us got weepy together. We both admitted to the other that sometimes, it's okay to think about sad things for a minute and move on, but other times, if you need to, it's okay to wallow in the sad thing and just allow yourself to feel all the feelings that it brings. Don't you think?

So while I've had a day of celebrating Father's Day with the dad of my own four children, those things have been tugging at my heartstrings and, well, making me melancholy.


...However, so far it could NOT be changed to "Melanoma," a nickname one of my high school BFFs bestowed upon me way back when. I went to the doctor last week to have a skin cancer screening, because I've had a number of spots causing me serious consternation for a little while now. But I'm in the clear! I do have a number of things on me with long names I can't remember, but nothing that gave the dermatologist (who was quite hot, thank you very much) pause.  Whew!


...Immediately after the derm., I visited the endocrinologist for a bone density screening, since I'm technically in menopause. (April 9, 2008: Hysterectomy, with total removal except for one ovary, if you're keeping track of my medical history. And I know you are.) Everything looked okay except for my hips, which are non-dense. I was prescribed to walk more often and take a 'D' supplement, which I'm supposed to do anyway.

I don't have a "Melan...density" nickname to go along with that paragraph, sorry; I just felt I should share that since, well, I know you worry about me being dense.  Am I dense? Quite, thank you.

I'll be back later. Maybe. I don't feel tired, so I think I'll bake the cake that's due Wednesday and stick it in the freezer, and then come back and write some more stuff. M'Kay? So come back and read it, if you will be so kind.


Saturday 9: You May Be Right


A day late... link up here if you played along!

1. What is the craziest thing you've done in the last year?

Started my own custom cakery on a whim (and a prayer), in April!

2. What is something that you've lost recently?

The visual hallucinations I'd been having, thanks to an increased dose of Abilify... heh.

3. Where does your patience suffer the most?

I like things done the way I want them, when I want them, which is like 2 seconds after I ask. I don't have the patience to wait and wait while the other person is literally sitting there doing nothing, and I can't proceed with my thing until they've done their thing. Really? Don't get me started. I'm not a very patient person. Hubs will agree.

4. Have you ever re-read a book?

Yes, but very rarely. I've re-read Evergreen by Belva Plain, the Anne of Green Gables series, and a few others, not counting children's books, of course.

5. What is a TV show that you absolutely HATE to miss?

Well, now that we haven't had regular TV service in a year and a half, it's a moot point, but I really miss Dexter and The Big Bang Theory!

6. How old do you wish you were?

I'm happy with my current age. I actually enjoy the aging process. It's fascinating to me.

7. Do you know your neighbors?

Yes, on both sides and many around us.

8. Do you believe that opposites attract?

Yes, oft-times they do, although that doesn't necessarily mean they will last...

9. Who was the last person that made you laugh?

My son, Jack River. He's 8 and for the last couple of months, he's become funnier each day. It's awesome.




Aloha Friday


Link up here if you're playing along with Kailani!

So my question for you this week is:

Assume you're paying top-dollar for someone to decorate a big, fancy cake for you, and for whatever reason, there has to be a trade-off somewhere between looking great and tasting delicious. Which would be more important to you?

Hopefully, I'm accomplishing both in my cake biz, but since I don't eat the product, I hope for delicious and aim for beauty.

Thanks for stopping by! Have a great weekend.


The First Weekend In June

I keep feeling like I had this unproductive weekend, because I didn't accomplish my singular goal at all, so here is a run-through of what I actually did do, to make myself feel better. And to share with you, because I know you hang on the edge of your seat, waiting for me to post these scintillating things I talk about, right?

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First, like I mentioned, there was desire to paint in the wee hours of Saturday morning. Now. So I painted the pantry door. And the little bitty corner of wall next to it, which of course meant that more painting in the kitchen would need to happen, or else that little green section of wall would like mighty curious, all by itself.


Well, the real first first was making the pizza cake, from Friday night into the wee hours of Saturday morning. 


And the second thing, immediately after finishing the cake, was scooping up the leftover cake and frosting and constructing these cake pops. These are long since gone, sold right away, but like I (think I) posted yesterday, more can be made if you need parting gifts for Teacher, or a special graduate, or Dad, or, well, anybody, because I really don't care whom you give them to, as long as you buy some. Heh.

So the third thing, then, was painting the door.

I went back and forth all day Saturday after that, moving kitchen furniture (that would be the full baker's rack, the deep freezer, and the table and chairs), scrubbing sections of wall piece by piece, paint first, second, and the exasperatingly always-necessary third coat... and coming back here to play on Facebook and run my stupid Farmville. (I call it "stupid," but I really like it. It gives me a quick opportunity to take frequent breaks from whatever I'm doing, and I've always been a girl who likes taking frequent breaks. Maybe I do have ADHD, but that's how I manage it. Whatever. Moving on.)


As part of this parenting course we're doing right now (more on that later), Rob and I are each supposed to spend 10 minutes of true quality time with each of the kids, twice per day. So Sophia and I spent one of our ten-minute sessions painting the back of the kitchen wall. I did all the cutting in around the edges, and she painted in the middle. I guided her with the correct way to hold the brush and move it back and forth, back and forth, and then she went and did it her own way. Which is fine. You can lead a horse to water...


Chloë wanted a painting turn after that, too, so I spent another segment of quality time showing her the same things I'd shown Sophia. She did it more exactly like I showed her, because that is her way. She, being a Virgo like me, is quite a bit of a perfectionist. I am doing my best, now, seeing this, and knowing how difficult it is to be that way, to guide her away from that tendency. It's not easy. Anyway, so they helped me paint the walls.

Jack wanted to paint, too, but he was never available when I was ready for him, because he spent a great deal of the weekend outside with the neighbor kids, riding his bike, driving his Cadillac Escalade Power Wheels, using the girls' scooter, and generally getting dirty and having a ball. So I didn't force the 10 minutes on him, although I do think it's especially important that he and I connect for those 20 min per day. I'll work on it, getting it in.


So eventually, the bottom half of the kitchen got painted, as far as I could go without moving the refrigerator. Luckily, I have plenty of paint left, for whenever Rob gets around to helping me with that. (I tried, but I'm a weenie.)

In the eight-plus years we've lived here, the kitchen has always been at the top of my "gotta change this" list, but for some reason, it has escaped my ministrations thus far. I even have the paint for the top half. Well, now that we've had to keep the windows open all the time (no AC), the cats have scratched out half the screens in the house, and they've all but shredded the café curtains covering the kitchen windows. I hate it. And I hate the country-cottage-y wallpaper on the top half of the kitchen walls, too. That's fine and good, but I am just not a country-cottage-y type of person. I like bold, striking colors that pop. 

So I got up on the chairs and started to RRRRRRRRRIP the wallpaper off the walls, tossing big strips of it onto to floor, to the kids' shock and dismay. "Mom! What are you DOING?!" they demanded.

I just laughed and let their father explain. That's often the way things go around here. I laugh, and he's left to explain why.


I pulled off all the copper molds from around the top of the walls, too. I'm going to sell them. I collected them years ago, when we lived in Panama City, FL. And while I still absolutely adore copper - it's my favorite precious metal - it's just not the look I'm going for anymore. So they have to go. I don't have them listed anywhere yet, but I do have some interest. Let me know if you, too, want to stake a claim. I'm willing to break up the lot.

Because we didn't get Rob's Navy paycheck the first of the month and things are uncomfortably tight right now, and also because I'm trying to walk more and drive less in the interest of Saving The Planet, Chloë and I walked to the grocery store late Saturday evening. The kids were begging, crying, for milk, so I decided to break down and spend some of our very little money on a gallon. I mean, it's milk, and they're kids. Not exactly a luxury. 

Chloë and I had the best talk on our way to and from the store. We discussed physical beauty and why that might not be the most important thing about a person, and what things might be more important. She decided that being healthy was the most important thing, and being safe, so we talked about ways she could be healthy and safe. She came up with lots of fantastic answers, like eating junk foods in moderation, always wearing her helmet when she rides her bike or scooter, and getting the proper amount of sleep. I was impressed.


At the store, she "helped" me shop, and by that, I mean she pushed the little cart around and mostly observed as I made decisions about what to buy and what to leave at the store. We talked about the importance of shopping the perimeter - she remembered what "perimeter" meant from her studies in math - and, like eating junk food, using the processed foods in the center aisles in moderation. I had decided to make a Key Lime Pie for dessert, to use up the Key Limes I'd picked up at a roadside citrus stand in Florida a few weeks ago, so we bought the condensed milk and graham crackers I needed for that, comparing prices-per-unit and all that we always try to do.

And since I have a partially-made batch of hummus in the freezer, I decided that I should get a lemon or two (of which there were none, so I'm going to try Key Lime hummus instead!) and the tahini I need to finish it. We spent about six years looking for the damn tahini, which used to be much easier to find, back when they had a separate section for "health foods." (Now it's next to the mayonnaise and other condiments, in case you're wondering.)

Having "gone green" by walking to the store instead of driving, I'd have felt pretty crappy about getting one of those God-awful plastic grocery bags in which to lug our loot home, so I bought yet another 99¢ canvas bag, too. I just can't stand those plastic bags. They, among other things like inconsiderate smokers, people who drink copious amounts of bottled water and don't even recycle the bottles, and folks who take nine hours to make the right turn in front of me, are the absolute bane of my existence.


So we walked home, me lugging the bag full of milk-and-schtuff, and continued our nice, Mom-to-Daughter talk. Somehow it morphed into what life will be like as she eases into her teenage years, and how it's natural for girls to butt heads with their mothers frequently in those times. That really upset her. I made her promise to remember one thing: that no matter what she said or did, and no matter what I said or did, I would always love her more than she could understand until she was a mother herself. That eased her mind a bit.

Then that translated into a conversation about the pressures of being a teen and experimenting with things like drugs, alcohol, smoking, and sex. I told her my hopes and expectations, and she asked good questions. Overall, it was a very productive conversation, and I'm so delighted we had the chance to have it.


So we got home, and I made the pie, and oh, my word, it was freaking delicious. Beyond expectations. I still have plenty of Key Limes, so I plan to bring another pie to our Gardening club this Thursday. Assuming I still have the gas to get there. Jack didn't like the pie, but everyone else devoured it with gusto. I had way more than I had any business having, but after cheesecake, Key Lime Pie has to be my fav... well, no, there's Dutch Apple Cream Pie, and Chocolate Chip Cookies, and... Uh. I just love sweets. I'm in the right business, I think. (And I'm glad I've discovered the power of prunes to help me take off any extra weight I might gain from sampling my own wares! Phooo, do those work well. Golly. *ahem*)

So that was Saturday.

Sunday, we didn't make it to church either, which was sad, especially since I'd visited their food pantry on Thursday after Girl Scouts, and they serviced us quite nicely. (That's something I've never done before in my life, and it's quite humbling. Thank you, to any and all of you who donate to the Food Bank. We haven't needed it before, but with this paycheck snafu, I'm certainly glad it's there for us in this time of need. Now if only there were a Gas Pantry, eh?)

I napped a lot on Sunday. Rob napped a lot, and Sophia did, too. The other two mostly watched Nova shows on the Wii, from Netflix. Jack is especially fond of the Nova programs, and particularly the ones that feed his transportation and mechanically-oriented brain. He'll watch the same ones about plane crashes or rockets taking off over and over, always going upstairs to get a toy that goes along with the program, and making-believe he's part of the action. It's pretty cool. Rob gets a huge kick out of his doing that.


For my evening 10-minute session with Sophia, she just wanted to play with the discarded boxes I'm trying to get rid of on Freecycle. She's decided she needs them for her tiny toys instead, like finger puppets and the Squinkies a friend gave her at her birthday party in April. Here she is admiring the bunk bed she made for her bunny finger puppet.


This is her favorite box, though, because "it's the biggest, and it has a window, so I can see what they're doing in there." She asked me to punch holes in the window with my knitting needle, so her bunny could breathe. And so I did, until she told me, "enough."

While Sophia had been napping earlier, I got started training Jack and Chloë on the way we do laundry, from beginning to end. They collected all the laundry in the house, sorted it into the proper piles, learned how to run the washer and the dryer, and then I showed them how to fold their own clothes. For now, I'll leave it at that, until I feel they're ready to start folding Mom & Dad's, and the towels and sheets. I've just always done the laundry myself and only had them run and put away their things. But with the parenting course, I see the error of my ways. I don't know why I didn't, but I guess I figured they would just pick it up eventually. Foolish. So now I'll be working on their "training," and we don't call them "chores" but rather "contributions." It's working out well. They feel important and significant, and Jack even commented that doing the laundry was "fun." (Not to me, but to his big sister. No way he'd let me hear such a thing on purpose!)


After dinner, when I wanted some knitting time on my sparkle! dress, and Chloë wanted a break from folding laundry, I asked her to spend a little quality time herself with Sophia. The two of them have been fighting a lot again lately, so I asked Chloë read Sophia some stories. She grumped and grumbled about it at first, but in the end, she read three stories to Soap without me asking her to go past the first one. And I made lots of progress on my dress:


Pretty soon, I'll be at the placket, which is my new favorite word to say. I can't wait to finish the front.


Jack went to bed first tonight, so again, I didn't really get to spend my QT with him. I'll give him extra tomorrow. After story time between the girls, Chloë wanted her ten minutes with me. Sophia and Dad spent those ten minutes together, too, playing and Soph telling cute, six-year-old stories to her Daddy. Chloë and I went for a moonlit walk around the smaller lake.


I took the Nikon along, just in case I found anything cool to take a picture of, but most of my pictures didn't turn out. I liked the way these branches stuck out far into the light of the street lamp, so I snapped it.


Halfway 'round the lake, I spotted a "frog" hopping off the path, toward the water. I managed to catch it for Chloë, who immediately squealed when she felt it and dropped him. So I caught him again, and then, of course, I could see it was really a toad and not a frog at all. We agreed to bring him home to show Daddy and Sophia. We took turns holding him and talking about what we learned months ago when we covered Amphibians, about the differences between frogs and toads. Chloë surprised me by remembering quite a lot of them without my prompting her, and I felt a lot of pride inside me.


There were a lot of ducks and drakes pairing up along our walk, but those photos didn't come out. I'm glad this one of Mama and her four ducklings did, though - how cute are they?! I just adore baby aminals of all flavors and varieties. I'm definitely a Woman in that regard. Baby people, baby ducks, baby anything, and my heart melts.


Chloë could barely wait to burst in the front door and show them the toad. We had to shh-shh-shh her, because the windows are open, and our neighbors sleep early. Of course, they gave her all the attention she was due, and there was even more fun when Sophia, holding the poor toad, dropped him in the house. I was in the powder room when that happened, but the sounds of them all gadding about, trying to catch it, were amusing to hear.


Chloë went to bed shortly after that - no, she had her ten minutes of Dad time first, and they looked through an American Baby magazine together, of all things - and Sophia and I shared some more time while I knit. She drew pictures of different things, like Chloë and I taking a walk, and of an "alien monster mouth" coming out of the sky and eating our entire unsuspecting family. I'm not really worried about that one, since she was giggling while she told me what it was. Sophia loves to color and draw, and she has become quite good at it, actually. I'll have to show you some of her drawings next time.

For now, though, I'm going to wrap up my weekend by trying to knit at least to the placket and making my To-Do list for the coming week.  I hope yours is a good one.


Presence. Presents. Gifts. Give?

Who knows what the hell I'm talking about there. It was one of those things where you think you're being clever and esoteric, but really you're just being a boob. You know?


Here's another offering from You Take The Cake!: 


Yes, more cake pops. They are just so yummy! And as such, plus the fact they are fully customizable for your needs, they would make a great gift for Dad, grads and teachers. Think about it, hm? $25 for a basket of twelve.


It's A Pizza Cake!


Thursday night, I got a semi-frantic phone call from a mother in search of a last-minute cake baker for her daughter's 14th birthday party on Saturday. Could I help? Could it be a giant slice of pizza? On and on. I agreed to take on her cake, at a fraction of the cost she had been quoted by other bakers looking to capitalize on the rush job. I underbid a little bit. I should have asked for more. Live and learn.

Anyway, so tonight, I started - and finished - the cake. It went well! Better than I expected, actually. I think it turned out okay. The only hitch is that I lost my notes, and I can't remember how to spell the poor birthday girl's name! So I'll have to write that on when the mom comes to pick up her cake tomorrow. 

With the leftover cake and frosting, I'm now making some cake pops to photograph for the website. I'm going to advertise them as gifts for Dads, Grads, and Teachers, none of which I really needed to capitalize. But I can do that, because I'm a free-spirited wood nymph. Or something.

So... you like?



Knitting Progress Y Otras Cosas


Here's where I am on the dress now. I think it's looking so cool. I can't wait to wear it!! It's double-knit, thick wool, so unless I develop coolant in my blood, I think it will be relegated to Winter wear after all.  I'm fine with that.

We didn't do a whole very lot this Memorial Day weekend. On Saturday, we... Hm. Lay around in the un-air-conditioned house and moaned about how hot we were. On Sunday, we did the same. Today, Monday, we actually managed to get to the pool for some respite from the heat. Five minutes into that excursion, I was whining about being bored and having forgotten my knitting. After an hour, I gave up and walked home, leaving Rob at the pool with the kids. I grabbed my knitting and, still soaking wet and wrapped up in my towel, I lay on the couch with my project bag and... promptly fell asleep. For like, four hours. Awesome. Go me.

Part of that sleepiness might be from what is an enormous change I've made in my life, as of yesterday: I gave up my major Diet Coke habit! I have multiple reasons for doing so, including economic, health, and environmental ones. If you want me to go into more detail, say so in the comments. I won't bore you with those here.

But I'm out of iron and unloaded from caffeine, so I am quite the drowsy girl right now. It sucks. All I want to do is clean the house, but it's far too hot, and I'm far too tired, and I've done exactly nothing on that front.



Excuse the kids sitting around in their drawers, but it really is frickin' hot in here. Anyway, this is them starting on our new Top Secret! Adventure series from the Highlights magazine people. We're starting with Australia. So far, they're semi-into it. Maybe I can make it more interesting for them this week, because we have the China package to do next, and the third one should be here soon. Should be a fun way to explore geography, though!

Right now, while the AC is out of commission, You Take The Cake! is on hiatus. For one thing, it's too hot to bake, and for another, all my goodies will melt! So that stinks, because I am really eager to kick it into high gear.

And on a final note, we're trying to get out of our house. Anyone want to assume our mortgage? We don't even want to make any money on it; we just want OUT of here. Stat.

And on that note, have a lovely week. Think cold thoughts for us!


A Saturday In May

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(Click collage to embiggerate.) 

We had a busy weekend, of sorts. I had to make those cookies from the previous post Friday night and Saturday morning, get them delivered by noon, and then get the house cleaned for the company we were having that night.

Which wasn't really "company," per se, but keeping two kiddos overnight so their dad and his new wife could have an adults-only wedding reception. They are both in Scouts with our kids, so we know them well enough that it was easy-peasy and comfortable. Still, I hate my house. My husband and kids are total slobs, and I'm, like, the only one in this house who seems to be bothered by the constant mess.  But I don't want to go there; I already went on a rampage a few hours ago!

After we straightened up, I let the kids play out front with the garden hose. They got soaked, and so did I! When the little girl who was staying overnight arrived, I was in the middle of filling up a bucket of water balloons for them to throw around. There's just something special about water balloons, isn't there? I think they should be a part of every sad occasion, to make things fun and happy. Like, at my grandpa's funeral a couple months ago, if we could've just thrown some water balloons, I probably would have cried less.

I don't claim to make sense.

So here are a few of my favorite pictures from that day, taken out of the collage so you can see 'em better, because I know you aren't going to be clicking on anything to embiggerate. I know your type. I can see it in you.


Sophia watering her 4th-birthday Crepe Myrtle Hopi


Sophia, again, having a drink from the hose


This photo just makes me happy. Like I could just reach in that squishy pile of balloons and hurl one at ... you?


A surprise attack from Daddy!


Nothing better than watching a Dad play with his kids


Later, we took our kids and the little girl (her brother was still at camp and got dropped off much later) to Baskin-Robbins for dessert, since I had won a $10 gift certificate from a Facebook contest of theirs a little while back. All six of us ordered a kid-sized cone (mine was sugar-free, natch), so for some odd reason, the very nice Indian lady running the store at the time decided to give us a half-dozen empty double-scoop cones "on the house." Really? For... what? It still makes me laugh.



Providing another giggle was that each was labeled, "DUBLE HEDER" - I don't know why that amuses me so much, but it does.


This little stinker... I had decided I would use those cones for something cakey for You Take The Cake! when Jack asked me if he could look at one. Next thing I know, he starts chomping away on it! What! Jack!! So this was his expression of, "Hey, I didn't know!" that kills me so much.

That's about it for pictures from Saturday night, which passed quickly for the overnight kiddos and not so fast for Team Odette. THEY were exhausted and fell right asleep. MINE were too excited about the sleepover/living room camp-out to settle down. They wriggled and writhed in their sleeping bags for half the night, keeping me awake next to them on the couch. And then the overnight kiddos woke up, hungry and raring to go, at 0630! *Groan* I was so not ready to get up then, but I managed.

I made pancakes and then realized, to all six kids' dismay, that we were out of syrup. Ugh. Overnight girl commented, "There's not much to eat around here!" after that. So we scrounged and managed to feed them, but man, their energy was limitless that morning compared to the rest of ours.  We took everyone outside to the lake across the street, driving PowerWheels around the lake and fishing with Rob.

It wasn't that disappointing when I realized I had to duck out for an hour for a blood donation appointment at the Red Cross. I'd made that date before I knew about the overnight, and I was behind in my donations, so I didn't want to miss it. I like to give my six times a year like clockwork, and I was already a month late. So, sorry, Honey! Rob was all, "Thaaaaaanks."

(On the positive side, I wasn't deferred for low iron and was able to give, so yay! I'm often deferred...)


Later, I played with my camera a little and captured this halfway-decent self-portrait. I have yet to take one that's clear and with good lighting, though, and that's because I haven't really figured out the timer or the remote control on my new camera yet. But hey, if this is what 35 is going to look like for me, I think I'll take it!


Skipping ahead to our equally-busy Monday, I started off the girls with a page in the workbooks their Grandma gave them so I could get myself settled, and I asked Jack to bring down his Legos and K'nex set to build me some kind of transportation. Anything he wanted. (We've been studying transportation this year as our social studies exploration.) He chose to make a hot air balloon, and this is what he came up with. I was very impressed!! Rob later told me he had instructions to follow for it, which deflated me considerably, but at the time, I was super pleased! After that, I asked him to make this, that and the other thing, and he did, coming up with something new and cool each time. That boy is so mechanically inclined, it'll be interesting to see what he does with it in the future. I hope he doesn't waste his talents!

I think I'll keep blogging. I have a lot of lost time to make up for with you!


Disappointment On The Cookie Front


Remember the woman who ordered the logo-truck cookies for her mom a few weeks ago? Well, originally, she had commissioned me for these princess party-themed cookies. Two dozen of them, so this picture doesn't show all of the ones she received. Just most.

I went back and forth on how I wanted to ice her cookies and finally decided to go with the Royal Icing, color flow technique that she had been so happy with for her mom's cookies. Adding a generous helping of colored sanding sugars to go with the theme, of course.

Well, I just hate the way they came out. I haven't heard back from her about them yet, and I'm nervous to ask. I know I should... and I probably will, tomorrow (today), because I know she planned to order yet more cookies from me for her upcoming baby shower, and I want to keep in her good graces!

Personally, I think these suck. I'm sure they tasted just fine, but they look like poo in my opinion, and I hate them. Bah.


Well, at least the packaging was cute.


Apparently I'm An Artiste

As you know, I've started what was originally just going to be a cake-decorating business, You Take The Cake!, but it has morphed into an all-around dessert and treats thing. Which is fine by me. I can't be confined, you know. I'm just that big a deal. Pretty soon I'll be walking down the street and people will be yelling out, "Hey, Smelly!" And I'll give my pits a little sniff, because, you know, but no, it'll be because me and my fabulous cakes and desserts and treats and stuff are so. damn. good.

Whoa. So not where I was going with this post. Which, by the way, is brought to you via the magic of Firefox, since IE seems to be the Typepad picture-uploading problemator, and not Typepad itself. Ugh. So back to my original subject...

It all started when someone responded to my cake-biz post on Craigslist, asking if I could make iced cookies for her daughter's birthday party in a few weeks. Sure, I can do that. I've been making cookies since I've been old enough to turn on the oven, after all. Then she came back a day or two later, asking if I could make some cookies for her mom's new errand-running business, as a present to her mom for Mother's Day.

Sure, ah, well, what exactly did she want?  Turns out she wanted her mom's logo, which was this:

ErRuns Express

on some kind of truck cookie. Well. Now. That's a whole different ball of wax, kids. I'm not all fancy-schmancy with the equipment (though, oh, how I would like to be), so I told her, em, uh, yeah, I don't know if you would like me to actually draw the logo on there and see? She wanted to see what I could do, so while I was putzing around making some practice fondant roses, like so:


I drew (with edible marker, natch) the fondant mock-up pictured at the top. I figured she would withdraw her request on the spot, but she was actually delighted! Whaa? Okay, then, so she came out and signed her work order and put down her deposit, and it was a go. Yippee!


So last night, I finally got off my arse and got started, since she's picking them up at noon today. Baking the cookies themselves went smoothly, but any ol' monkey can do that. (Thanks to MIL, who gave us a box of 101 cookie cutters about 9 years ago, I already had a truck one. Woot! Those 101 cutters have come in handy on about a billion occasions.)


After outlining and "flooding" the cookies with icing, I had nothing to do but sit around and wait. And wait and wait and wait. You're supposed to let them sit overnight, but after about four hours, I lost patience. Fortunately I had made a few extras, so if I goofed up, I could afford to lose a couple. I did, too. Not on the drawing, but because I leaned on a cookie and cracked the nice crystallized icy-icing coating. Can't fix that! (Rob suggested spackle, but Client's Mom's customers probably wouldn't enjoy that so much.)

Just in case those didn't turn out well, I made some "Go Mom, You're Awesome" cookies as a back-up for the Client, so she would still have a gift to give her. She had okayed that, too. But we've eaten several of these, actually most, so hopefully she likes how they finally did turn out!


And this is them. Each one painstakingly drawn and painted in by hand, with the marker and with custom-mixed icing paint, details dotted in with toothpicks. It was a long, long process, and I definitely low-balled myself on the cost. I'm half-hoping she comes back and orders more - and my cramped hands are half-hoping she doesn't!

Maybe I'll be back later with more stuff I've been making lately - or you can just go look at the pictures on the shop website! Or maybe both, I've been quiet lately.