Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye 2012...

As we say goodbye to 2012 we think back of our memories from this year.  The TV networks are all running "best of" moments and remembering those that passed.  Even Facebook "mysteriously" has picked our highlights from all our posts and pictures and has a feature about the past year.

One of the reasons I like to blog is to record what happens and to try and keep life in perspective.  So, that's what this post is about today.

For me, 2012 had some wonderful highlights.  I think back on family times:  Easter in Charlotte, our summer gatherings, especially our annual 4th of July, and the Milheim Lakeside week.   We gathered again at Thanksgiving...and we spent a special weekend in Las Vegas.  The year was topped off with family being here at Christmastime.

We saw job changes in the family over the year.  And, there is still uncertainty going into the new year. 

A personal highlight for me was the time with hubby and the Lewandowskis in Nashville for the CMA Festival.   It's a new tradition. And, I'll be there again in 2013!

When I think of our nation, 2012 had the usual political satire and frustration. I was glad to see the election finally happen, and yes, I was happy to have our president re-elected.   I know that one man can not change the course of the big, bad, political machine and 2013 will have more of the same craziness.   It is what it is, but we still live in a wonderful country.  The diversity of people and places is absolutely amazing here and I consider it a blessing to live in America.

Narrowing my world abit, I continue to LOVE the lowcountry of South Carolina.  We got to see it's beauty from the rivers this past year, and a whole new world opened up to me! 

I thank God for all the good, and turn to Him for hope even when such bad is still out there.  We all hurt over the whole Sandusky scandel, and the horrible mass shootings, and endless war overseas.  And, closer to home, still too many of our neighbors struggle with trying to live with basic needs, and crave love.

My family gained a beautiful little boy this year, and thankfully, nobody suffered with serious illness.  No death in the family.   I lost a dear neighbor, and some church friends though.  I know they are now "in God's hands."

I plan to celebrate 2012 tonight and raise a glass of wine to another year come and gone.   What will happen in '13?  I don't know.  I'll make a couple of personal resolutions (yep, I got to get back into an exercise program), but I am excited about what I don't know will happen...  

so, goodbye 2012.  It's been nice knowing ya.   Cheers!!!

Friday, December 28, 2012

The party's over...

Today is December 28th...

3 days after Christmas.  (Ok. Technically,  we are still in the Christmas season. Yes, there are 12 days of Christmas, so it's still Christmas until the first day of Epiphany. I know that.) But, the hoopla is over. The presents have been opened, and the wrappings are in the trash.  The food and baked goods have been prepared, and mostly eaten.  The leftovers are starting to get stale. The Christmas music isn't being played anywhere anymore. The quiet has hit.  Family and friends have come and gone.

But, it seems life is in "limbo" as we wait for New Year's Eve and Day.

This week, these days following Christmas Day until New Year's, always feel kind of strange to me.  We all have "peaked" with our celebrations.  We are now done, a bit tired, and the holiday partying is over.  So...

Now what?

How do you spend these days?   I know some people who had to jump right back into work.  But many people take off these days between Christmas and New Year's.  What are you doing? 

There's cleaning to do.  Perhaps a movie to see (if you can get a ticket!)

I have a hard time slowing myself down. How about you?     

 Really? I can sit now - and read a book?  Do a crossword puzzle?  OK.  Sounds good.  I need to pay some bills that have piled up the past couple of weeks.  I need to do some laundry. 

All good things come to an end.  2012 was a VERY good year in our home.  No complaints.  No serious concerns...much to be thankful for as we finish up the calendar. 

I guess this quiet week is good for turning attention to the new year ahead.  2013!   My next blog will do just that.  I will spend a couple of days now and think about what I can do better, or do more often, in '13.   Stay tuned.

Monday, December 24, 2012

This time put Christ in Christmas

Hi blogging and Facebook friends,

I'm sitting here at the computer Christmas Eve morning, listening to Christmas music on my ipod, thinking about what the next 2 days will bring in this household...

Family together

Good food


Opening presents

All wonderful events, and ones that will take place across this land in many homes.

Is this what you will experience? 

I encourage you, if your list does not include it, to attend a Christmas Eve or Christmas Day worship service.   Listen to the scripture reading of the birth of the baby Jesus.  Sing the classic Christmas hymns.   Spend just a little time recognizing what Christmas REALLY is all about... and open your mind and your heart to this gift from God.   A gift of love that came to earth, a gift of grace, of  eternal life.

Come on,  try it.  Wander into church...   see what it is like.

If it's been many years, or if you have never been in a church, this is a good time to go.  If you have never taken your children, let them find out the real meaning of Christmas.   Put away your old feelings of how religion used to be.  Open yourself up...

make your CHRISTmas complete.

Celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the son of God, sent to ALL of us to show us how to live, to love, and to offer everlasting hope!   Merry Christmas to you! 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

"The Sound of Silence"

This is the last Hodgepodge for 2012.  The blogger community has designated today as a day to be silent in memory of those taken at Sandy Hook Elementary, and to pray for all those suffering.  So, I suppose I really should not post this today - but the "sounds of silence" are the sounds of breaking hearts, of missing the children's laughter, of the years ahead of stolen beautiful moments. 

Amid the aftermath of this tragedy we need words of comfort, prayers both silent and in unision, and scripture readings assuring of hope beyond the sins of this world.  We need to speak out on gun control while our leaders are feeling the pain, and we need to stop the silence when a community ignores the needs of the mentally ill. 

We can NOT stay silent!  

So, I go on with the Hodgepodge as I prepare for Christmas, the celebration of the baby Jesus, the  one who came to earth to forgive our sins, and to show us the way to everlasting life.

1. How will you spend 'the night before Christmas'?

Christmas Eve is a beautiful time for me.  It's time with family,  and its when we attend our beautiful candlelight church service together.  We sing the Christmas hymns and hear the familiar reading from Luke.  The music is "tingling" and not just because I play in the handbells. ha.  I love to sing "Silent Night" by candlelight, and then "Joy to the World"!   After the service, we come home and sit and enjoy the Christmas tree lights, have a bit of liquid "Christmas Cheer" and open one present - which is always a new pair of pajamas to wear that night.

2. What is one thing you are not?

I am not super-woman.  To quote an old Helen Reddy song, you will not hear me roar!  I learned long ago I can't do everything, and I certainly can not do everything well.  So, I do what I can...with my heart in the right place.

3. Fudge - are you a fan?  Your favorite flavor?

Of course I'm a fan! Who wouldn't like all that sweetness?  My favorite flavor is chocolate. I don't eat it often because it's so loaded with calories that I feel guilty.  Fudge pieces are small, but they make a person bigger.  Not fair.

4. Did you attend any craft/vendor fairs in the month of December? Do you prefer homemade goodies or the more professional stalls?

I have not attended any fairs this month but I do enjoy them.   I do not buy many homemade items, but I very much appreciate when family & friends make homemade gifts for me.  I live in an area with many artisans and art galleries, craft stores, etc.  So year round I have the opportunity to go in them and shop.

5. What's your favorite type of holiday gathering?

A relaxed one...with lots of laughter and love!

6. We're approaching a new year...what's going to be different in 2013?

An interesting question.  First, is anybody else thinking about how we are going into '13? I'm not a superstitous person but I do wonder if others are "fearing" what may come this year.   What will be different?  Day to day not much.   But I am optimistic that our country will improve economically, and that our leaders will make some good decisions.  Yes, I'm still optimistic!  I hope to see positive changes in gun control, in health care, and in the needs for the poor in body and spirit.  

7. Share a favorite scripture, quote, saying, or song lyric relating to peace.

I have this on my Facebook page:  "Make me an instrument of thy peace." - St. Francis of Assisi.  I also love the song "Let their be peace on earth and let it begin with me." I went to a school program when my girls were little and the children sang this song - and it brought tears to my eyes.  It was so beautiful to hear from those innocent, little voices. So hopeful - so without prejudice.   Of course thinking of that moment now in light of the Sandy Hook tragedy is so sad too. 

8.  My random thought.

I hope everyone can LISTEN to the sounds this Christmas - to the TRUE story of Christ's arrival on earth, to all the beautiful music, to the laughter with family and friends.  It's really NOT a time to stay silent - but instead to rejoice and be thankful!

Be safe - and I'll see all my hodgepodge friends in 2013!  Merry Christmas! 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Counting down

I'm counting down for a few special things right now.  First, my birthday is this weekend and I'm counting down for our trip to Las Vegas to see Tim McGraw & Faith Hill in concert there.  I've never been to Vegas (and I never really had it on my bucket list to see) but I'm a huge country fan and I love Tim McGraw. This will be my 4th time seeing him in concert.  My family is coming with me so it will be a great, fun weekend for us all.

I'm counting down to Christmas and events that celebrate it. I'll be baking next week, wrapping gifts, preparing for the Christmas Eve service (I play in a handbell group), and preparing for more special family time.

I'm counting down with the weekly Hodgepodge too.  It's that time again, so here are the questions and my answers.   Joyce, our wonderful leader, loves to hike, and from time to time she posts pictures from her outings through the New Jersey woods.  Yes, NJ has woods!  And lakes and mountains!  You just have to get away from the Turnpike and go north and west. 

1. When did you last take a walk in the woods?  A stroll on the beach? A drive going nowhere in particular in the car?

I can't remember when I hiked through the woods. I enjoy the woods - as long as I don't have to camp in them.  The stroll on the beach?  That's an easier answer since I live at the beach!  Just a week or so ago.  And driving without purpose?  I think the days of the "Sunday drive" are over due to the price of gas and the fact that we all spend so much time in the car anyway. 

2. Are you sending Christmas cards this year?  About how many do you send?  Photo card or something more traditional? How do you display the cards you receive?

Yes, I will be sending Christmas cards out soon. I  have started addressing them, and have bought stamps, etc. but I'm waiting until our return from Vegas in hopes I can get a great family picture while there.   In the past I have sent traditional cards, and have included a "family update letter". I have sent pictures in the past too.  I enjoy receiving cards from friends who send along letters and pictures - I love to see & read about their past year.  So, I try to do the same.  It's a bit different now since Facebook has kept me in touch with some friends all the time.  But there are still those out there that I only hear from once a year at Christmastime and I really enjoy receiving their cards.  Displaying cards?  I do not display them, but I keep a basket by the kitchen table and collect the cards there.  After Christmas when everything is quiet again I go through the basket and enjoy the cards a second time!

3. What's a word you've heard too much of in the past week?

Tough question.  I can't immediately think of one annoying word!   Perhaps "snow"...but only on the news.  I do NOT like snow AT ALL and am happy to now live in an area that really never gets any. But I admit when I hear that word I still get a chill up my spine. 

4. December 13th is National Cocoa Day - are you a fan?  Plain or flavored?  Marshmallows or no marshmallows?

Yes, I like cocoa...but I never think about making some for myself.  It's a nice winter drink when the word I mentioned in the question above is happening.  If I have cocoa I prefer no flavoring besides chocolate - and a few marshmallows are nice.

5. What is something you do to help alleviate the hectic pace of the Christmas season?

What I "try" to do is take it a day at time, and realize I am not good at everything associated with the season.  I'll bake a little but I'm not a big baker, and I will stay out of the stores as best I can.  I love the music so I concentrate on it, and I attend my church's Advent services and activities to keep centered on the CHRIST in Christmas.

6. Besides jewelry, what's a favorite sparkly - glittery item in your home or closet?

I do not consider myself a "bling bling" type of person.  I don't wear flashy, sparkly clothing.  So, at this time of year my favorite sparkly thing is the Christmas tree.   At other times?  I keep a tree lit with white lights year-round in my Carolina room.  Guess what?  I have lived here over 6 years and have never unplugged it - and it's still lit and pretty! 

7. Share a favorite line or two from any Christmas carol.

Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.     (Ok, it's not really a Christmas song but I love it.)

8. My random thought.

Thinking back to question 5, I count my blessings every day and thank God for my life and my family...   and yes, the glitter and glitz is fun at this time of the year, but it's important to remember that it all started in a humble, dirty little animal stable in Bethlehem.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

What's important and what's not...

This past week went by fast, and finding the Hodgepodge questions this morning took me a bit by surprise. Oh ! It's Tuesday already!  I have a list of things to do today but I will take a few minutes here first to answer the questions.

1. Share your traditions surrounding the Christmas stocking.

My mother handmade 3 Christmas stockings for my brother, sister, and I.  Each Christmas season they were hung on the mantle of the fireplace.  We never really got gifts in them, but it was tradition to have them hung, and to sit under them for a Christmas picture.  Each year.  If I can find one (and find the time to search) I will post a picture on my FB page.
Now, my family members (hubby, both daughters, and I) each has a stocking, and they are really beautiful - and a gift from our friends from NJ, the Hoos'.  I hang them each Christmas season, and I fill them each year too.  In fact one of my favorite shopping experiences during this time is finding small, fun, cute, items to go into the individual stockings.  We usually "open" the stockings Christmas morning before starting in on the gifts under the tree.

2. How many hours of sleep do you average at night?  Is it enough?

I average 7 hours.  Yes, it's enough.  I try to go to bed around 11pm and am up 6:00am-ish.  Of course my doggie has been known to wake me earlier!  That's ok.  If I don't get enough sleep at night I am REALLY GOOD at dozing in front of the TV in the evening.  ha!

3. If you had to give up one thing for the remainder of this year, what would it be?

Hmmm. I'm not sure where Joyce is going with this question.  I think it's easier for me to answer what I would NOT want to give up!  I would not want to give up the family time and the special Christmas Eve service. I would not want to give up the music!  Anything else I could give up:  shopping, baking, etc.    Now, if Joyce is asking about a "non-holiday" thing that I had to give up, I guess I would give up laundry and food shopping.  Oh yes, if I must....    ( :

4.  The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (also known as Wills and Kate) have announced they're expecting a baby. Do you follow news of the Royals?

I know a few people who follow news of the Kansas City Royals!  Oh, wait, the question is about the British Royals!   I am not a huge "fan" of the family, but I will say that Wills & Kate seem to be in love, and they are representing the family well.  I wish them well with the crazy British media and with the expectations on them.  

5. For me, the sound of childhood is ____________ .

Giggling! When children laugh they "giggle."  You never hear of adults giggling....

6. Fruitcake - yay or boo?  What's your favorite dessert made with fruit?

Nay on the fruitcake.  I'm not a fan.  My favorite fruit dessert is pie... apple or peach.  With some vanilla ice cream on top!

7.  What is one thing you want to accomplish before 2012 comes to an end?

Again, one thing?  I want to accomplish making it through the busy holiday season.  I want to remember the "reason" for the season. I want to prioritize what's important and stay true to it.  God, family and friends, then the other stuff.   I want to make a toast on New Year's Eve to a wonderful and blessed 2012 and put my trust in God for 2013.  

8. My random thought.

For you readers out there, I'd like to suggest you go to and  use it.  I love sharing book ideas there, and giving and reading reviews.  I'm in one local book club where we read a book a month, but I also go to the Goodreads site often  to see suggestions.   It's a good spot to look for a Christmas gift too.  Nothing beats a beautiful book to give!

Remember the December mantra...     don't stress....  don't stress....   don't stress....

Have a GREAT week!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Do you use an Advent calendar?

I was on Pinterest yesterday looking at the create ways people count down to Christmas.  As a kid I remember my parents having an Advent calendar (store bought) for us with little doors to open each day, and a Bible verse was behind each door, each verse telling a bit of the pre-Christmas story.  I have seen some calendars for sale in stores with candy behind each door - although I'm not sure what that has to do with preparing.

This Sunday is the first day of Advent so I'm pondering how I want to prepare myself this season.  What can I do each day?  

Yes, Pinterest had some cute homemade ideas.  But, I'm also wondering what (and "if") you have a tradition during Advent.  I'd love to hear from you.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Only 4 Hodgepodge Question weeks til Christmas!

Blink.     Goodbye Thanksgiving...   and hello Christmas season.  Most of the Hodgepodge questions for this week have turned to preparing for Christmas. 

1.  Which do you prefer - a pretty gift wrap with a bow or a pretty gift bag without a bow? What percentage of your holiday gifts are currently (as in right this very minute) wrapped in some form or fashion?

I guess I prefer a gift bag filled with pretty colored tissue AND a bow!  I like the fact that bags can be recycled and used for many years.  Yes, I'm one of those people that go around after the frenzied gift opening has finished Christmas morning and collect the bags for using next year.  I usually wrap clothing items in boxes though, wth wrapping paper and a bow.  Often it's the gift that determines how it should be wrapped.    Second question:  0!! 

2. What is one item on your list this year?

I do not have a list.  I do not NEED anything.  I am of an age, and in a wonderful living situation, where when I need something I go buy it.  So, for me, Christmas is all about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ and having family together.   Yes, some family members will be kind and have a gift for me - but I am not asking for anything in particular.  

3. What makes a home?

I have thought about this before because I know people who have to come home to a bad some form of abuse, or to expectations, or to formal rules.   Home SHOULD be a place where a person can totally relax, and feel contentment, and feel love.  

4. Motown founder Berry Gordy is celebrating his birthday this week.  Are you a fan of the Motown Sound?  If so, who's your favorite Motown arist and/or song?

I am absolutely a fan of the Motown Sound!  (The best thing to come out of Detroit!!)   I don't have one favorite, but when I think of Motown I certainly think of Smokey Robinson and Diana Ross.   They were two of Gordy's BIGGEST singers that came from his studio. 

5. Red or geen - which is prevalent in your closet?

I have more green for sure.  I have green eyes so I tend to wear green.  It's one of my favorite colors.

6. True or false - Bacon makes it better?  If you answered true, what's your favorite dish made with bacon?

True!!!  I think bacon is good on just about anything.  I don't use it in cooking at home (because I know it's not good for me) so when I go out it's a treat to get bacon.  I'm a big fan of a BLT in the summertime, and I love bacon crumbled on any salad!!

7. Share a favorite holiday memory.

Thinking back to my childhood, I remember how we were able to pick one gift to open on Christmas Eve.  My father was a Lutheran pastor and so Christmas Eve was always a BUSY night at our home, but he would come home between services for about an hour and that was when we kids got to open the gift.   I also remember that my mother made the BEST cheese cake, with a graham cracker crust - and we would put the canned cheery filling on top, and have it at Christmastime.   Yum!

8.  My random thought.

November came and went very quickly!!   We had a nice Thanksgiving at my sister's in Ohio!  No trip to that area is complete without seeing some snow, and once again we did.  Luckily it was just flurries as we drove south, back home.  That was enough snow for my liking!  

Now for my Christmas mantra:     don't stress....don't stress....don't stress....don't stress....

Have a good week everyone!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thankful for the Hodgepodge.

The Thanksgiving Hodgepodge has a couple of good questions about Thanksgiving and the day after.    It is funny how we can all stop, be calm, and be thankful for a few hours on the holiday and then many people go out and act like lunatics the next day in the stores.  

Are you one of those people?  

Joyce asks - and I answer below.   Feel free to tell me about your Thanksgiving too. I love reading the comments!

1.Turkey - love it or leave it?  White meat or dark?  What's your favorite thing to make using leftover turkey?

I LOVE the smell of the turkey cooking in the oven on Thanksgiving!  I think that's my favorite part.  I like to eat white meat, but it has to have gravy on it.  I have always felt turkey is pretty "mild" flavored so it's not something I eat at other times of the year.  But, on Thanksgiving, with all the good sides and smothered in gravy - now that's yummy!  Leftovers?  We usually are at my sister's for the holiday so I don't have leftovers.  If I did, then I suppose I'd put it on a salad since I'd be trying to eat healthy after pigging out on the holiday.

2. Gotta burn off all those carbs the day after a holiday feast so which would you rather do - run a 10k or climb a mountain?

Definitely climb a mountain!  I prefer exercise that doesn't seem like exercise!   Climbing a mountain is a good workout but also a great way to enjoy nature and vista views.  (Just watch out for black bears, right Joyce?)

3. Do you feel like social networking has made your relationships better or worse?  Explain.

I love social networking!  Facebook has reconnected me with friends from my past, and has put me in contact with family members I don't see often.  Only once (that I know of) have I accidently hurt someone and they "de-friended" me and it still really bothers me.  But, for the most part, it's been a delight to share pictures, and jokes, and updates.  I have even "met" wonderful people, including my blogger friends, online. 

4. How do you find and express gratitude for the hard things in life?

I pondered this question for a little while. Why?  Because I am so blessed and have few "hard things" in life.  Again, why?  Because I put God as the center of my life, followed by family, and then everything else.  How do I express my gratitude?  By thanking God everyday for ALL things!  I pray, I attend church, I give back in His name. 

5.  In the US, the day after Thanksgiving has been dubbed "Black Friday."  Is most of your holiday shopping done live and in person, or is it done now through the magic of the internet?  How do you feel about stores opening at midnight on Friday?  Will you be out amongst the masses on Friday?

I order some gifts online, but I still do most of my shopping "live" in stores so I try to get it done early to avoid the holiday crowds and a feeling of pressure to buy "something, anything."  I will NOT NOT NOT be out on "Black Friday" shopping.  I do not like frantic people rushing around, grabbing at special deals, etc.   What a HEADACHE that would give me!!   And, I feel the stores are trying so hard to beat out the other stores for the shoppers that it won't be long til stores open at 6pm on Thanksgiving.  It's not fair to employees.  Wondering... Do they get paid double time?  Do they have an "option" for working on a holiday?    

6. Speaking of the color black - which black item in your wardrobe would you say is your favorite?

I have a black top that goes with everything.  It can be dressy when worn with a skirt - or I can wear it with jeans.  It is comfortable and flattering. It has a 3/4 sleeve so can be worn year-round...alone, or under jackets.  It was a good buy!

7. What do you appreciate about your life today?

Joyce, are you asking for only ONE thing?  I suppose you mean what do I appreciate at this point in my life that I didn't have or experience earlier on in my life.  If so, I have to say I REALLY appreciate who my daughters have turned out to be!   Both of them are loving, caring, and fun people.  They are a joy to be around!

8. My random thought.

If you are traveling over Thanksgiving, be patient and kind to your fellow traveler!  It's going to be busy out there.    Be thankful to arrive alive, and to able to share a meal with family and friends!  
H A P PY     T H A N K S G I V I N G     ! ! !

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Hodgepodge 101

After taking off a week,"just" because she was without power (small problem...), Joyce is back at the Hodgepodge this week.  This is Hodgepodge #101 and here's the 101 on how to play:   Read my answers and respond with your comments, or better yet, post your own set of answers and keep the Hodgepodge a rollin'! 

Seriously, thank you Joyce!!  I am happy to report her power is finally back on, along with just about everyone else in the NJ town I used to live in. BUT, it took a LONG LONG time!  Some friends were without power for 13 days there!  Here's my "extra Hodgepodge question":  Would you stay in a cold, dark house for that long - or go visit relatives or find a hotel with electricity?   Remember, gas was scarce too!  I think when the next big storm is predicted not only will people be stocking up on bread, water, flashlights and batteries, but they will be buying gas cans and filling them up too!

Here are Joyce's questions, and my answers:

1. What rule of life should never be broken?

The rule of respect for your fellowman.  You don't have to agree with everyone, or like them, but you need to give everyone the same respect that you would like.  

2. What's your favorite family recipe?

I have a "my side of the family" recipe and "my husband's side of the family" recipe.  For my side it's my mother's apple dumplings, made from scratch - and used as the entree for dinner.  Hot out of the oven with cold milk poured on top! Yum!   From my hubby's side the recipe is for a pineapple cheese side dish.  I know it sounds like an unusual combination but it's REALLY good together...with the other ingredients.  We have it at almost all family get-togethers.

3. Is the media manipulative?

A resounding YES!   Back in the day when there was only 3 major networks the news slot was considered an unbiased time, and it was there to inform and "report" the news, without emotion or without editorial.  But, once the cable station numbers exploded and the competition got fierce, most news outlets felt they needed to "attract" viewership (which equals ratings) and fill the endless hours of news.  CNN was proud of being 24 - 7 when they first went on air.  But, in reality, it's too much time to fill - for all stations.  So, they started adding in "talk shows" and "creating" events, and either by design, or accidently, had a hidden agenda. They learned if their news programming appealed to a type of viewer (conservative, liberal, rural, urban, etc.) they would win their viewership, which means ratings, which means advertising money.   So, yes, the media (news media) IS very manipulative today. 

PS: Do you remember when you would see the words "Breaking News" come across the TV screen and you knew it was something VERY serious?  Now, it's used all the time.  EVERYTHING is breaking news!

4. Hubs and I saw "Skyfall" last weekend...are you a fan of Bond films? If so, who's your favorite BOND?

I am not a fan of Bond movies.  I saw the first couple of them - but have not seen any since. Wondering...How many are there now?  My favorite Bond?  Pierce Bronson sure looked good in the tux, with his martini lightly shaken. 

5. What is one thing you hope people NEVER say about you?

Only one thing??   ha!  I guess I hope people never say I am uncaring.  In reality I care too much, and that has gotten me in trouble occasionally.  But, I'd rather be TOO caring than NOT caring at all.

6. What's a nearby tourist attraction you'd like to see but haven't gotten around to visiting?

I would like to go to the Magnolia Plantation, just outside of Charleston.  But, I need to go in springtime when the azaleas are in bloom.   Maybe I'll go THIS spring!

7. Where's your favorite tree?

When I first read this question I thought Joyce mistyped "What's your favorite tree?".   But I like the "where" question.  My favorite tree is in Brookgreen Gardens, near where I live. It's a HUGE Live Oak tree with spanish moss hanging off of it.  The gardens are acres and acres of land that once was an old plantation, and was turned intio a living & sculpture garden by the Huntington family.  It's a "must see" for anyone coming this way!  Now, besides the gardens, there is a walking zoo, a nature center, historical tours, etc.  It's slogan is "every changing, ever beautiful" - and it is!

8. My random thought.

There's SO much I could talk about...  Sandy and her aftermath, the election, how early Thanksgiving is this year, etc.  But, this time I will simply say I am THANKFUL for each day, each season, each year!     Have a great week blogger friends!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

An early start this year.

It's a chilly start to today. Of course, it IS November 10th. The day is going to be beautiful by afternoon, sunny and near 70 degrees.  Since it's Saturday, I am planning my day around the South Carolina football game at noon.  Go Gamecocks! 

In just a bit, once the temps rise more, I am going outside to plant some flats of winter pansies I bought yesterday.  That's one of the nice things about living here: year round flowers!   I also bought two small evergreen trees to place into planters at my front door. I plan on putting lights on them later, for the holiday season.  Then, after the new year (if I can keep them alive) I will plant them out at the "riva-side" place. 

I can't believe how I am already in the pre-holiday planning time!! Christmas cards have been ordered.   I've started buying some Christmas gifts.   Next Saturday our church is having a festival with crafts, baked goods, etc. and I have been decorating ornaments to sell there. It's a fundraiser for worthy charities and our church quilting group.  I have been letting the Christmas songs play on my ipod while I do my work.  

Last week hubby and I even put up an artifical tree at the"riva-side" home.  It's our first Christmas season there and I guess we got a bit anxious! ha!  It's not decorated yet, but it looks very pretty lit up in our entrance room.  I plan on making shell ornaments for it. I want mostly homemade and "beachy" looking decorations there. 

So, this early "Christmas spirit" I am feeling this year is not my norm.  Believe me.  Oh yes, I usually start ordering & buying gifts in November because I don't like being in malls in December...but I have really gotten a jumpstart on much more already.  

Why?   I'm being postive in general, and I'm especially excited because this year both daughters are bringing the boyfriends for Christmas! We will have a houseful!   And, hubby's sisters will be here with their significant others too - for the special dinner. 

I hope this feeling continues.  I want to keep stress at a minimum and enjoy the season!    Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Why I am voting...

I have tried not to use my blogging space as a political mouthpiece the last few months.  But, this Tuesday is the election...  for president, and other local and statewide people and issues.  

I hope everyone who is eligible to vote WILL take the time Tuesday and do it.  I don't want to hear complaints after the election, whatever the outcome, if you didn't take the time to vote.

Now, I know it's easy to get cynical about the whole thing.  I certainly have had my moments.  We see/hear so much about the dirty campaigning, and the spins on everything said and every poll taken (and there sure have been a bunch of them!)  What un-nerves me right now is how the news media narrows the election down to just a couple of "key" states due to the electoral college system.  It makes me feel unimportant, and that my state has already been "decided".   In general, I blame the media for creating too many hot button issues for their ratings.

But... I will vote.  I have voted in just about every election, and I have certainly voted in every presidential election.   I will vote Tuesday.  It's my civic "duty" but also my "opportunity" to express myself, and to be a part of the democratic system.

For many who know me, they know I lean towards the Democrats in vision and in policy.  I usually vote for a Democrat.  I plan to again on Tuesday.   BUT...  and this is a big BUT...  I do NOT like being stereotyped as "that kind of a person" of someone living in a dream world.  I have heard it all.  Believe me. I have been told that I'm not real enough, I've got my head in the clouds, people will not behave how I want them to behave on their own, business makes the world go round, etc.  

I am 56 years old.  I have lived pretty long now, and I have listened, and learned...and I have come to a place in my HEART and HEAD (I do believe the two have to go together - even in politics) and I am happy with my beliefs.  What are they?

I believe that all Americans have the same right to everything that is offered in our great land.  We all come from different circumstances and backgrounds, but we are EQUAL under God.  (I am a Christian and I do believe in God, but I do believe in separation of church and state. I live my life as a Christian - and thankfully this country gives me that right.)    I believe that women and men have free minds and can make choices...including choices that have to do with their sexual identity, their own bodies, and their livelyhoods.

I believe in taking care of those who can not take care of themselves.  STOP!  Listen closely... I believe there are those who can not work and need assistance due to physical and mental limitations.  It is our duty to take care of them.  But, they should not be freeloaders.  They should be required to give back to society.  They should have responsibilities expected when getting help.  Volunteer!  Do something!  I believe our govt has the right to limit the kinds of foods and drinks those on assistance receive.  I believe they should be required to take drug and physical ability tests regularly.

I believe that human kindness and love can win.  I do not want our country to be perceived as the "big powerful mean ruler" of this world.  We should always help other countries with whatever we can give them, but we should not shoot at their innocent people, or bomb their lands.  I know that terrorists and evil is out there and it must be stopped.  But, I believe that we can eliminate those people without sacrificing others.   Technology today has created ways of fighting that we have never seen before, for the good and bad.  

I believe education should be a true number one priority in the United States.   There's been too much talk of it's importance but our high school dropout rates are embarrassing.  Education can bring on better research and jobs, and it can lower crime.  It must include the arts... I believe it is not up to the govt to decide what type of education is allowed and what is not. 

Oh - I can go on and on...    there are endless issues.  I believe no person can totally agree with everything in one party, and not the other.  As free thinkers, that's just impossible. 

Yes, I will vote for President Obama to have 4 more years to continue his work. I believe our economy is slowly improving. Real state is coming out of the hole it was in.   Certain job markets are seeing some growth.   We are in no new wars (thank goodness!) and we have eliminated some evil in the world.  I consider President Obama a thoughtful, intelligent man - a family man - and I think he deserves more time to continue on.  Now, if only we could get both sides of the aisle in Congress to try and compromise for the good of the American people.  Ok, yes, maybe I can dream...

Go vote Tuesday!  

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The 100th Hodgepodge

I came late to the Hodgepodge party, but this is the 100th set of questions posted by Joyce. She created these special  Hodgepodge questions, the 100th list, ahead of time knowing she would be busy and frightened by hurricane Sandy.  She's without power now but hopefully she will soon see everyone's answers.

The questions and my answers:

1. What creeps you out?

Snakes.  I have a total fear of them and just can't stand to see them, even in a closed container...and even tho I know they have a purpose, and know some are not poisonous.  There's just something about a snake that "slithers" (that word creeps me out) along. I freak out, and I get shivers up and down my back. Snakes definitely creep me out!

2. What's your least favorite candy?

Candy that is so, so sweet that it makes me pucker...   yuck.  I'm not a lover of Sweet-tarts. 

3. Are you a fan of scary movies? What's the scariest movie you have ever seen?

I am NOT a fan of scary movies - at all.  In fact, I do not understand why people like to be scared, and why they would actually pay money for it.   No thank you.   I can't think of a movie that is the scariest.  It's been years since I have purposely watched a scary movie.   All of those movies that come out each year right before Halloween are not my cup of tea.   Again, no way - not me - I stay away from anything that frightens me.

4.  What part of life confuses you the most?

I have a few answers to this question.  But, mostly, I do not understand why humanity treats each other so badly.   I am confused why people who profess themselves as Christians treats others harshly, or ignore their needs.  Some people chose to live their lives with blinders on, or with thoughts of being better than others, and therefore they don't take an effort to help out.   I am confused why love doesn't conquer all, and why people don't try to live in peace with each other.  

5. Pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, poppy... what's your favorite seed?

I am not a big seed eater.  But, I certainly love a poppyseed muffin!  so, yep, I've got to go with the poppy seed.

6. Imagine your life ten years from today.  What's changed?

Ten years from now I think I will still be living here in the lowcountry of South Carolina.  I love it here, so I hope I am still here.  I think my husband and I will be enjoying activities together... boating, or golf, going to movies, and watching sports.  We both enjoy all of those things.  I hope to have good health because that will make my life "useful" to others.  I hope to be a grandmother by then....please or please!   ( :   I look forward to what I don't know may happen,.  I mean - think of technology!  We have had so many changes in the past ten years - I can't even comprehend what it will be like in ten years from now.  I want to welcome it. 

7. What do you 1) love the most and 2) like the least about the hodgepodge?

I love to read the responses to the Hodgepodge questions, and to see just how alike we are at times.  Also, when we do differ I love to read how other people think. Sometimes the answers that differ from me make me think of other possiblities, and they also make me think how who we are has so much to do with our history, with our families,and our geographical areas.  But, mostly we ARE alike...we certainly have one thing similiar: we like to blog!

8. My random thought.

At this time next week we will know who will be the President of these United States for the new term starting in January 2013.  Thankfully, the crazy, mean spirited ads will be over. The spin will stop.  The reporters will find other things to talk about. Phew.  At least for awhile.  Whatever the outcome, what do you think?  will your life really change? 

For those wondering (a few have asked) those young men who disappeared on their way to Myrtle Beach about two weeks ago were found 2 days ago.   Sadly their car was spied off a bridge in the Wateree River.  The bodies were inside. Nobody will know what happened except that they lost control and went off the bridge and drown.  There were no skids marks so perhaps the driver fell asleep.  A very sad ending to a massive search in this area.  Our prayers go out to the familes mourning the loss of their sons. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

"Weather" it's right - or wrong...

As I write this post hurricane Sandy is getting ready to create all kinds of havoc on the mid-Atlantic and Northeastern coastline.  I'm living in South Carolina, an area usually known for it's hurricane scares.  Sandy stayed out to sea and went by us. She gave us a day of rain and some gusts of wind.  It's somewhat ironic that we are saved from the major effects but those in the north will not be.

I lived up in New Jersey for 12 years.   During that time we had our share of Nor'easters, usually big snow and wind events.  Once we had so much snow we needed to pay for a large construction earth mover to come and carry out the snow from our driveway.  Our back sliding door was completely covered to the top with a huge snow drift.  It took a lot of shoveling AND months of sun to melt away the snow from that one storm.  Plowed snow mountains were still visible in parking lots in April.

Yes, I know bad storms can hit other parts of the country. Of course, Florida has had it's share of hurricanes.  And we will never forget what Katrina did to the gulf region. 

But, I do find it interesting that the northeast gets so many various types of bad weather.   Blizzards, freezing rain, tornados, and hurricanes!

I am so happy to be away from all of that. 

This morning, I walked my doggie and had to "bundle up" because we are feeling the remnants of Sandy as she moved north.  It's breezy out.  And its too chilly for my liking.  The high only around 60 degrees today.  

But, all in all, it's a pretty good place to live. 

Be safe all you northerners!   I'd say "come on down", but it's too late this time.   And, I
 don't know...sometimes I just enjoy MY little piece of the world here and don't want it over-run and over-populated..  

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Beer? Buses? Debates? Songs? Hodgepodge time!

I joined Joyce's weekly Hodgepodge recently, but this is her 99th set of questions.  (I will be very interested in seeing the 100th edition.  Perhaps all questions that have the number 100 in them?  Just a suggestion.)   Joyce mentioned the song "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall" which we all know was a youthful pastime on long road trips, etc.   I'm wondering is it politically incorrect to teach the song to our youth these days? 

Here are the questions, and my answers.

1.  So, do you like beer?

The only time I really enjoy a nice, cold beer is on a hot day.  If I drink a beer I prefer a "light" beer or one with a slight flavor like lime.  I LOVE wine instead! I am a chardonnay person, but occasionally will have a good red with dinner.  No sweet wines please.  The drier the better. 

2. What's your least favorite repetitive task?

I have mentioned this before - it's going food shopping.  I consider it a necessary evil.  I'm not adventurous in the kitchen and therefore I do not linger in the grocery store. I go in with my usual list of basic needs that keep our household going, and I get in - and get out.  Every week - the same items...   boring.

3. When was the last time you rode a bus?  Where was it headed?

Wow.  It's been awhile.   I'm drawing a blank on a specific time.  I rode the bus on many field trips when my daughters were in school.  I often volunteered as a parent chaperone.   We were living in New Jersey then and we took the bus on band competition trips and then on to Dorney Park Amusement Park.  We also took buses on our county youth orchestra trips into NYC, and when we went to Europe.  Good times!  I've always enjoyed bus trips because you are with others, can sightsee, but don't have the stress of driving.

4. What song from your childhood or from your children's childhood could make a parent's nerves stand on end?

When my older daughter was a toddler I took her to Gymboree fun/exercise classes.  She loved Gymbo, the clown, and as any good, loving mother would do, I got the video tape AND audio tape of the Gymboree songs.  I think if I heard that music even now, some 20 years later, I might cringe.  The other song (which I mentioned in an earlier blog):  "It's a Small World"....over and over....   and over.

5. The US presidential election cycle is drawing to a close (can I get an AMEN?) and the 3rd and final debate was held last night...what was the last thing you 'debated about'?

I don't consider myself a debater.  I have my beliefs but I have a hard time verbalizing why I believe the way I do.  Sometimes it's a gut feeling instead.  Or, it's my religious faith telling me what is right vs. wrong.    And, I think I have learned over the years that debating is a lost art and it's nearly impossible to change anyone's mind anyway. 

6. Can a person make too much money?  How much is too much?

So, Joyce, did this question come from sitting in the pew on Sunday?  I know this past Sunday's Bible lessons at my church dealt with stewardship and "happy giving".   It's that time of year when we approve the budget for the new year and the congregation pledges to meet the needs.   You ask "can a person make too much money?"   I suppose the answer is no...the big question is WHAT does a person DO with the money earned.  I know athletes and top CEO's, and Hollywood types and musicians make incredible money.  But, so does Bill Gates - and look what he does with his earnings.  I forget the exact saying, but for one who is given alot, one is expected to give back alot.  If a person remembers all things come from God and that we are stewards of His world, then the act of giving is a gift of thanks back to God. 

7. Pop - soda - coke - something else....   what's it called where you live? 

I have lived in various geographical areas in the US and most places have called a soft drink a soda.  Except, that is, my birthplace: Ohio.   I haven't lived there since I was a kid but I have most of my family members there, so when I visit I hear them say pop.  It sounds strange to me.  I've been away from there too long.

8. My random thought.

I have lived long enough to stop at times and think..."mere coincidence"?   Or instead, is it a "sign from God"?   There's a great country music song out now called "Cowboys and Angels" by Dustin Lynch and it has a line about something being an "accident or grand design?"  What do you think?  I find as I age, and grow in my faith, that life is NOT an accident.  That often things happen for a reason.  Big and small.  We don't know WHY when it happens but it gets clearer looking back.  Hindsight is 20/20.  

PS:  2 young men (ages 18 and 17) left a party in NC over a week ago and on a whim decided to drive down here to the SC beach to see the sunrise - but they never arrived.  Since then, each day, their frantic parents and families, friends, and the police, and volunteers, have exhaustively searched the roads.  So far there has been NO sign of them or their car.  No skid marks on the road, nothing unusual has been found anywhere.  They have just disappeared.  Both boys were good kids and those who know them do not suspect that they purposely are in hiding.  Foul play is not suspected either.   Did the driver fall asleep and run off the road into a river?  Or under a heavily forested area?  Even helicopters have searched.   I pray each day that they are found to end the anquish of not knowing.  I pray for young lives perhaps gone, and families who will miss them forever.   Amen.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

It's the weekly Hodgepodge. Jump in - if you dare!?!

It's Hodgepodge time.  Jump in!

1. Noah Webster was born this week back in 1758...besides the online version, do you own a dictionary?  Do you ever use the hardback copy or is your hunt for a definition strictly online these days?

We own several hardback dictionaries.  Since hubby and I have liked to play Scrabble over the years we have kept them around to use as the definitive answer to whether a word put down on the board is real. Hubby once gave me a dictionary as a gift (pre-computers.) I also love to do crosswords so I have a specially designed dictionary for crosswords.  But, I must say it's been a long time since any hardback copies have been cracked open.  I rely on the online dictionaries these days more than not.

2. Should public schools ban Halloween celebrations?  What about other holiday celebrations currently under fire?

Some people love Halloween, but me...not so much.  I have never liked the eerie, spooky part of the holiday. I don't like zombies, and bloody walking dead, and all the really creepy costumes.  As for schools, I think for the elementary level it's important to teach children about all holidays: why we have them and how people traditionally celebrate each.  I still remember my grade school classroom bulletin board decorated each month with a calendar that highlighted the holidays.  When my daughters were young and in elementary school they had a Halloween parade outside on the playground.  The children and teachers dressed up and walked around while parents took pictures.  I don't recall any teachers in ghoulish costumes. I don't know if that was mandated.   In today's world I suppose I can see this as an optional "after school" activity.  

3.  What's your favorite 'dog' movie?

It's got to be "Turner and Hooch" with Tom Hanks!  It's so funny and endearing - and slobbery! 

4. When were you last somewhere you'd describe as "too quiet"?

First, I must say I enjoy the quiet.  I do not get lonely often in a quiet situation.  I enjoy sitting in the quiet and reading (if I don't fall asleep! ha)  The last time I recall it being "too quiet" was on a weekend here at home.  Many of you know my hubby travels for business during the week so I'm used to quiet Monday through Friday.  In fact at times I like it a lot!  But, on a rare weekend when he can't get home due to business, then the house seems "too quiet".  It's more my state of mind because  he's not home and we aren't doing things together. 

5.  Are you a neat cook?  In other words do you clean as you go or make a big mess and then deal with it later?

Cook?   What???   ha!   As I have said before I am not a lover of cooking...but I do cook sometimes. Yes, I do - and when I do (I sound like the man on the commerical) I always clean as I go. 

6. Did you hear about Felix Baumgartner, the skydiver who broke the sound barrier via parachute?  Was your first thought COOL! or was it CRAZY! ?  Are you adventurous?

Yes, I heard about him and have seen some of the video of the jump/fall to earth.  My first thought:  CRAZY!!!!!!   My second thought:  why???    I don't understand people's needs to be first or to do something wacky like that.   Am I adventuous?  People who know me will say that I am not.  And, I agree...I am cautious. I have always been that way and became even more so when I became a mother.   Now that I am a bit "older" I'm trying to be a bit more adventurous...but not in a physical, do stunts way.  I do not get enjoyment from doing something that will give me an adrenaline rush (aka: scare the "you know what" out of me.)  I am trying to be OPEN to new things or ways though.  I do not want to grow old and be stuck in my old ways.  I want to live each day as an adventure! 

7. What's not a word that should be?

Joyce, this question makes me think of playing Words With Friends!  I still can't believe that the word "ade" is not accepted.  I keep trying it! ha! It keeps getting rejected! 

8. My random thought.

I always type my answers on Tuesday...  so tonight is the 2nd Presidential Debate, with a town hall meeting format.  I'm looking forward to it more than the others. There will be the usual rattling off of numbers skewed to each other's side (lies??), and meaness, but perhaps there will be some light-hearted moments too.  I think I will pay attention to which candidate actually answers the question asked by the audience member.  Candidates have a way of steering answers to issues THEY want to talk about - and double-talking - and saying lots of words without giving a simple answer.  So, that's what I plan to focus on tonight.    PS: I hope Facebook friends are not as mean-spirited in their comments after the debate as they were last time.  Remember what your mom taught you: "If you can't say anything good, then don't say anything at all!"

Monday, October 15, 2012

The good and the bad of a State fair.

On Saturday I spent about half the day at the North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh.  It had been a long time since I had gone to any state fair, and I had never been to NC's before.  Here are my thoughts:

THE GOOD:   The North Carolina Fair still had the traditional agricultural displays and livestock judging.  I really enjoyed seeing the largest (and heaviest) pumpkin and watermelon!  The winners were over 900 pounds! Crazy.  You know they could not have tasted good though.  We saw lots of potatoes, squash, pumpkins, nuts, some baked goods, honey, etc.  I also really enjoyed watching the young people (4 H - ers) show their prized cows and sheep.  It was quite amusing to watch them try and keep the animals under control...some animals being MUCH bigger than the kids.  Since it was Saturday it was "youth day" so  the children and teenagers were spotlighted.   I took a few pictures which are on my Facebook page.

I saw some really cute little baby piglets all smooshed together sleeping by their very LARGE mama!  And, I saw baby goats and calves too.  A few donkeys, chicks, more LARGE cows and steer... and sheep.

The fair was reasonably priced to get in - and the night-time concert was just an additional $10.  We saw country singer Jake Owen.  He's definitely easy on the eyes and has some great songs!!
I think 5 or so songs have been pretty big country radio hits.  The biggest hit so far is "Barefoot Bluejean Night."  Love it!  Instead of "like lighters at a rock show" (words in the song) the hall filled up with cellphone lights for a very cool effect.  Jake filled the rest of the show with some lesser known songs off  his albums, and then ended the night with his song "8 Second Ride" and the Van Halen classic "Jump"!   A good, high energy song that everyone knows and loves!   I've seen Jake Owen five times now and he's always great to see perform!   As we were leaving the fairgrounds we caught a really nice fireworks display!

THE BAD:  As I said it was my first time at the NC State Fair and I was there on a very busy Saturday - but I really felt the walkways between all the food booths and trailors were too tight, dangerously so.   There were times we were shoulder to shoulder with people just moving en masse.  I felt sorry for families there with kids in strollers.  I'm not sure how they got around, and there were a few times I almost fell right over on one!  At one point I wondered why strollers were even allowed. It was frustrating!  Also, I was surprised by the number of motorized scooters for people with health problems.   The fair is pretty dirty.   It doesn't seem like the place to go with medical limitations.  But, yes, it's a free world...   and there were hand washing stations outside the livestock exhibition halls.

We realized after the night was through that we missed about 1/3 of the things to see there.  I felt the fair layout was rather disorganized and places were not well marked.   A few general signs were posted occasionally but it wsn't clear to us.  We got stuck in the food area too long.  If Americans wonder why we have a weight problem go to a state fair!   Fried everything!!   

I was going to put the smells of the fair under "the bad" category, and although the smells were strong - especially in the pig and hog building  - eeeee-yoooo!  - it IS part of what the fair is all about! Right?   Fair odors are a unique mix of livestock in stalls, and queasy food being cooked.   

The half day was enough.  Perhaps had it not been so, so crowded - and dirty - I could have enjoyed it longer.  But, I think it's safe to say, I've pretty much had my share of state fair "fun" for awhile!

Saturday, October 13, 2012


I have been thinking the past few days about a particular girlfriend of mine (her birthday is tomorrow) and how we have lost track the past few years.  We were "tight" in our younger years.  We spent a lot of time together back then and had some pretty great times.

I know I'm to blame for not staying in better contact with her.  It's hard as years and miles separate us - and lifestyles, and interests too.  I still really care for her - and love her - and wish her the absolute best life offers!

I know it's not unusual to have friends go in and out of life.  It's still sad though.  How many of us still stay in touch with friends from our school years?  Unless you never move away from your hometown it's bound to happen.  Remember high school girlfriends? I had two that were my best, best friends and we called ourselves the Three Muskateers.   Thankfully, I am still in communication with one, although it's not on a regular basis. 

I went to two universities.  Unfortunately, I lost touch with all of my dorm girlfriends from the first college, except for annual Christmas cards from a few. It was at my second school that I met Sue, and if you have read my earlier posts you know she and I have maintained a close friendship even tho we live in different states and live different lives.   Our bond is unbreakable.

Once I married, girlfriends came and went with the places we lived.   I worked with some really nice ladies in Virginia, Maryland, and in California, but for the life of me, I can't even remember all of their names.

Anyway, I guess what I'm saying is that throughout my life I have been blessed with meeting some very wonderful,  smart, fun ladies - and I considered them my FRIENDS!   I wish I could find out what they are doing now. I have reconnected with a few through Facebook.  I am one person that loves using Facebook as a tool for staying in touch with friends...

Here are a few names I wish I heard from more:   Karen, Pam, Paulette, Michelle, and Terri.  

Email me:  mfabiansc@hotmail,  or look me up on Facebook. 

I know friends are like flowers that make life beautiful in different seasons!  Still,  I miss you girls!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

"It's the most wonderful time of the year"? (not)

It's time for the weekly Hodgepodge questions.  Thank you Joyce for keeping my brain active! 

1. In what way do you indulge yourself?

I indulge myself many ways.  I admit it.  Each day I take a bit of time and read, even though I know there are other things I could be doing.  I get my nails done - which is something I never did when I was a young person, and a young mother.  I have "relit" my love of live concerts and indulge myself with tickets to some of my favorite singers when they come around. 

2. Have you ever taken a cooking class?  Any interest?  What type of class would you most like to try?

Hahahaha!  Sorry, but this question makes me laugh!  No, I have never taken a cooking class and I think anyone who has eaten my food can attest to it!  I was born without the cooking doesn't come natural and I don't enjoy cooking.  I have learned over the years to "get by" and can whip up a few things but I don't enjoy doing it.  Here's part of the problem:  I don't find grocery shopping fun either.  I consider a trip to the food store a necessity and I usually run through the same store, pick up the same things, and then get out. I do NOT read labels, I do not picture possible meals in my brain, I don't get excited by what's on special that week.   Thankfully I have a husband who did not want a good cook - I have "other" good qualities!  ha!   I'm laughing again!

3. What does it mean to be a good citizen?

I think a good citizen RESPECTS the land they live in,  follows the laws, and works towards living in community together. 

4. Tis the season of the politcal these ads influence your vote?

First, let me say I feel sorry for anyone who lives in a "swing state" during the campaign season!  I do not, but some of my family live in Ohio, which is a state bombarded with political advertisements.  I think I would have to DVR everything and skip all commercial breaks if I lived there.   This is what amazes me:  statistics show that all the negative adverts work!   Really?  Who are these people who actually watch them and BELIEVE them??  People:  those ads are all one-sided and are not truthful! They are mean spirited, and in my opinion, a huge waste of money!  So, do these ads influence me?  Yes. I will NOT vote for any person who runs ads that belittles their opponent. I will not vote for a candidate who spends money on being mean.  Thus my problem!  Who's left to vote for??

5. What's something you see today that makes you wish you were a kid again?

Oh my! I can't think of anything.  I know I look back on my childhood with rose-colored glasses, but I can't think of anything today that I wish was around when I was a kid.  Ok, maybe the computer...because it sure would have helped with research work while I was in school and I would not have had to type out term papers on my old Selectric typewriter. 

6. What's your least favorite cliche?

I was pondering this question while reading other material and came across "boys will be boys."  I don't like that cliche.  I think it's said as an excuse for bad behavior.  I think it gives boys permission to do things outside of proper limits or without manners.  Parents of boys sometimes use it instead of teaching them how to control themselves.  (Yes, I'm the mother of two, maybe if I had had to raise a boy I would have used it too. Ha)

7. What percentage of your Christmas shopping has been completed?  how does this make you feel?

5%.  The past couple of weeks I have picked up a few stocking stuffers, and that's all I have done to this point.  But, I will "kick in" to shopping in early November.  I do my best to get most of it done by early December to  stay out of the stores when they get crowded, and to reduce stress during December.  Can I say: I wish Advent and Christmas were all about the preparation and celebration of the birth of Jesus?  I know people think I'm a Scrooge when it comes to pre-Christmas, but I really dislike all the commercialism and the PRESSURE put on us by society, and ourselves.  I admit I relax and breathe a big sigh of relief on December 26th. 

8. My random thought:

I think I'm "debbie downer" with my answers this week. Sorry.  And, as my random thought I was going to write about how chilly it was this morning when I walked Miss Honeybee.  Brrr.  Damp and chilly. I don't like it.  (Woops, I just typed it.)  So, blogger friends, my favorite time of the year - summer with the warmth, and the easy-breezy days - is over. The days are shorter, and the pressure of the holidays is upon me.  I mean, Joyce already asked a Christmas question!   Raise me up!!  Buoy my attitude!   Help me focus on God, and love, and family and friends.  Oh - and college football.  Thank god for that!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

For Stan: A birthday homage

Today is my hubby's birthday!  Over the years that we have been together I have given him many gifts, and once I wrote a "love letter" for him (I know, just one? ha). I put together a scrapbook about "us" another time, and  have sent him flowers and balloons.

But, now, I have this blog where I can share my feelings and I can give him, and the world, a look into what a great person he is.  It seems the perfect place to tell a bit of his history and to look into what makes him so good.

Let's start at the beginning.  Hubby was born in the capital of the old south, Richmond, Virginia. He didn't live there all of his youth, but he was always in the south, and he was raised by a mother who instilled in him southern manners and language.  At times growing up he went through some rough challenges, but it only pushed him to pursue his education and to make a better life for himself and for the people he loved.  When I first met him those were attributes I found very charming!

Yes, by the time I met him he was an "up and coming" young businessman, willing to work hard and work long hours, due to a devotion to the business and a drive to move upward.   He never lived a boring life!  He worked hard, yes, but he PLAYED hard too!   Hubby was (and still is) an energetic, fun guy, great to have at any party.  He can talk to anyone.

We got married in 1984 and we traveled all the way across country for a new job opportunity; just two young people on an adventure together.  Our life in California was great because it became us together against a whole new world.  We both had new jobs, lived in a new area, etc.  Baby #1 came quickly and only 2 years later came baby #2.  My hubby was such an attentive Dad to these baby girls... and loved spending time with them.  He was "hands on" with them, and a proud papa all the way!

Years went by... moving, changing jobs, climbing the corporate ladder, and doing what was best for him and his family.  Hubby always balanced the work life and home life.  He made sure to be involved in raising the daughters - and he loved being a giving Daddy.  (I had the job of keeping the girls grounded.) 

As years have gone by, hubby has become a giving person where ever he sees there is need.  "To one given a lot, one is expected to give back a lot."   He's generous... without regrets, or without expectations.

 He's at a point in his life now,I think age-wise it's a pivotal time for a man, when he asks himself what he wants to do the rest of his life.  He has some ideas.  But changes will be coming, and for a man celebrating a birthday it's a bit scary as to what comes next.   Hubby has worked hard, played hard, and now needs to figure out what is next - and as equally satisfying. 

I know he will never be one to sit back and do nothing.  He will find something to fulfill him, and to make a difference to others.  He will continue to push, push, push...and make old age a valuable time.

So, I celebrate his birthday!  I'm glad I was the one he pursued at that time in our lives when we were ready to settle down. I thank God for putting us together, and giving us a solid foundation.  We have always looked forward in the same direction.  And, we have laughed when we needed it, and rarely cried, except tears of joy over major family events and when watching our daughters turn into amazing, loving, and happy adults.

Happy birthday hubby!  You are a good man - a role model for how to be a wonderful husband, father, friend, and boss!  I love you!   Enjoy YOUR birth - day!!! 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Hello October!

Welcome to October and this week's Hodgepodge questions and my answers. As always, I love to know your thoughts too.  Feel free to respond via my blog, on Facebook, or send a note to my e-mail address. 

1. It's a brand new month...share one thing you're looking forward to in October.

I am looking forward to spending a day & night with my daughter & her boyfriend, and my niece, at the NC State Fair and going to see Jake Owen in concert that night.   I'm driving there in a couple weeks.  Of course, I look forward to spending the time with the people, but I am also looking forward to going to a state fair.  I haven't been to a state fair since I lived in Maryland and worked in radio. We always set up our 98 ROCK van there and had announcer appearances, and gave away bumperstickers, etc.  They were long, hot days.  This time I will enjoy myself!  I have seen Jake Owen a 4 or 5 times in concert already but he never disappoints!   I love his energy, his music - and he's not hard to look at either. 

2. Is chivalry dead?  Explain.

I looked up the word to make sure I understood it before responding.  Chivalry was owning the qualities of a knight: courtesy, generosity, valor, honor.   Even in war.  It was a male term.   So, is it dead?   No.  I think most of our soldiers today display chivalry.   Because it's an old term. it's often thought as how a man defends a woman.  In that way it's probably dead thanks to women's lib and equality in the workplace.

3. On October 2, 1050 the Peanuts comic strip made it's debut.  Which character is your favorite?  Which character is most like you? (Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, Shroeder, Snoopy, Woodstock, or PigPen. )

First, let me say, I LOVE Peanuts! Thank you Charles Schultz for wholesome, adorable kids (and dog) that make us laugh and cry...that really touch our hearts!  My favorite?  It's got to be Charlie Brown.  Where would the comic be without him? I love his eternal hope.  He gets knocked down a lot, and disappointed ("good grief!") but he keeps going.  He tries again.   Who am I like?   I hope I am NOT like Lucy.  ha!  I hope I'm like Linus who is still "child-like" in his ways but he always gets the big picture!  Come on, he's the one that told everyone the real meaning of Christmas! 

4. What's something you're competitive about?

I thought on this awhile.  I'm not a competitive person -  on purpose.  It's easier, and less stressful, to live without trying to be better than someone or something.   If I have to come up with an answer I guess I'm competitive about  South Carolina Gamecocks football.  I want to see them play a good game and win!  Goooooooo Gamecocks!!

5. October is National Popcorn Popping month.  Are you a fan?  How do you like your popcorn? 

I don't crave popcorn. I never make it at home.  I do like it at the movies, but I don't even get it there very often.   But, if I do buy some popcorn at the movies - it's just a small bag, with a little butter on it. 

6. When did you first realize the world is small?

Oh thanks Joyce.  Now I have the song "It's A Small World After All" going through my head.  If you have ever gone on the "It's A Small World" ride at Disney you know that song!  Once our little boat got stuck in the "It's a Small World" ride and we heard that song over and over...and over...and over... for what seemed like an eternity!   oh my!     My serious answer is:  I remember sitting alone in my living room watching TV when the first Gulf War attack happened and Pres. Bush #1 came on TV and told us, and then I watched the nighttime raids, the SCUD missles, etc.  It felt like it was happening in my backyard.  It seemed close, and it was frightful. 

7. My random thought.

I think we all have enjoyed a bit of a quiet the past few weeks during the whole political circus pre-election arena.  That will change Wednesday when the 1st presidential debate happens.   I wish we as a country could limit (by law) the length of campaigning and the amount of money spent on it.  Just think how happier we would all be - and how that money could be used for better, needed projects.  Hang on -  it's about to get wild again!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Hodgepodge time

It's the weekly Hodgepodge time.  It's been a busy week full of  emotion.  I celebrated the life of my neighbor Don, and learned of my hubby's half-brother passing too.  I heard some other sad news, but also balanced it with good times with friends, and with enjoying this beautiful September weather boating and just beng outside. 

This is the first moment I have had to sit down and answer Joyce's Hodgepodge questions.

1. The hodgepodge falls on John Chapman's birth date.  He's more famously known as Johnny Appleseed...what's your favorite variety of apple?

Golden delicious. I like to just bite right in and enjoy the sweetness and juiceness of this apple! 

2. When did you last say "ick"? 

Just last week.  This is a true story.  Sometimes in the evening I leave our front door ajar so our pug Miss Honeybee can sit on the front porch and watch the world go by.  She loves being outside!  Hubby and I were right inside in the living room watching football.  Miss Bee came running in with something in her mouth.  Now, she's known to bring in a twig, or an acorn...but she outdid herself this time, and brought in a squirrel tail with some guts hanging on it! I screamed (IIIIICKKK!!) , she dropped it, and thankfully hubby came to the rescue with a pair of bar-b-que tongs and carried it outside.  I'm sure Miss Honeybee did not kill the poor squirrel (we have cats outside and fox roam around), but she found it and I think was pretty proud of herself for bringing it in....until I screamed ICK!!!!!!

3. Do you think there's a generation gap?

I want to say no, but I'm sure there is.  I know when I was a young person I thought the older generation was "square" and behind the times.  So, I'm pretty sure my daughters and their peers feel the same way about me and my generation.  I really TRY to stay current and to love change, and new fashions, etc.  but I also love history and nostalgia.  I sometimes wish the world moved slower.  I'm part of the older generation.  Geeez...    or should I say ICK !

4. What's on your computer screen saver? Do you change it often or leave it alone?

My screen saver is a picture I took of a pelican sitting on a pylon, posing nicely.  I took it awhile ago one day when at Murrells Inlet having dinner.   I don't change my screen saver pic very often but perhaps I will now.  Sometimes I will change it for the current holidays or seasons.

5. If you had the attention of the entire world for 2 minutes what would you say?

Please, please, please live in peace.  Accept everyone and their differences. Remember:  "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."   Trust God, take care of the poor, and feed the hungry.  

6. Four fashion trends to try this fall are brocade/jacquard (fancy fabrics), peplum, lace and printed pants...which of these four would you most likely wear?

I don't even know what peplum is.  I better look it up.  It sounds like the fashion styles his fall are a flashback to the hippie era with the fancy fabrics, prints, lace, etc.  I will not buy printed pants for a season.  No thanks.  Perhaps a nice top with lace on it.   I'm a pretty basic dresser, and enjoy the classic lines and fabrics.

7. What makes your bad day better?

A call from my daughters.  Turning up my country music and dancing with it.  A beautiful, sunny day.  The love of my doggie when I walk in the door.   Being thankful that I rarely have a bad day.

8. My random thought:

As I wrote earlier, and also devoted a post to last week, it seems the passing of a loved one, or good friend, can certainly bring everything in to perspective.  It makes you realize that it's all "temporary" and it's so important to enjoy each day on earth.    Go out today - and make the most of it! 

Friday, September 21, 2012

"Our Temporary Home"

I know the adage is that bad things happen in threes...   and this week it seems to be happening.  Yesterday I  received news of a young person whom I know and that she needs all kinds of medical tests because she has developed symptoms that occur with MS.  Then this morning I got word of the passing of my dear neighbor, Don, last night.  He was a great, loving person who fought off cancer earlier this year, was given a clean bill of health, but all of sudden last week he got sick and very weak and his body shut down.   I called a few of my neighbors to let them know and during one phone call I found out that another neighbor, who has been fighting pancreatic cancer for almost 2 years now, is getting hospice care. 

Bam... bam, bam.   Two of these three people I know are/were faithful believers in God and in the joy of eternal life in heaven with God.  I hope the other one is too. She spoke calmly about her situation and we talked of how we need to make each day a blessing.  She is in pain even with the hospice care,  but she was comforting me on the phone.

This is my reason for blogging:  I just don't know HOW there are people in the world that go through illness and sadness, and nearing death without knowing, without believing, that our time on earth is temporary - and that the everlasting life offered by God - is such an assurance.  I mean, how can someone lose a loved one without thinking they will one day rejoice together in heaven?    It just must be so, so, very overwhelming and "final" without knowing.

I know, I believe, that my loved ones that have already gone before me will be waiting to greet me.  I don't get "how" or I don't understand it, but I have faith.  Earth is my "temporary home."  I am happy I believe.  It has gotten stronger as I have aged.  I still get scared. I still have moments of doubt, but most of the time I BELIEVE...

Thank you God. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Looking up as we "fall".

Today is the birthday of the author of the weekly Hodgepodge. Happy birthday to Joyce! I hope she has a great day!

Since she is turning another year older, the first question this week is about just that.  Take a look...

1. What's the best and the worst thing about growing older?

The best thing is the gained confidence in who I am, and in my own path in life.   The worst?  I can only name one thing?  Ha!  Well, I think the worst thing is the physical limitations.  So far I have been lucky/blessed with no "major" physical problems and am still able to have an active life.  But, I have already noticed that I can't keep going like I used to go.  I need, and I ENJOY, a time of calm and reprieve.  But, question, why when I sit down to read do I fall asleep when I don't want to?   It frustrates me!

2. Autumn arrives this week in the northern hemisphere...what one thing do you love most about the fall season?

I really answered this last week because my favorite thing about fall is the start of football season.  So, if I were to pick one other thing I would say it's the startup of activities after the summer break...and for me this month it includes starting an art class, joining in with the community band, returning to some volunteer work (Backpack Buddies, our church garage sale, etc.).

3. Speaking of fall...pumpkin seems to be flavoring everything these days - are you a fan?  What's your favorite pumpkin flavored food or beverage?

I like some pumpkin flavoring BUT only in pretty traditional ways.  I love pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread.  But I don't order the pumpkin flavored coffees or ice cream or anything else that is "pumpkin-y" for fall.

4. Since we're on the subject of fall - what's the worst fall you've ever taken?

My worst fall was when I was ice skating with friends, during my college years.  I am an okay skater but this particular evening I was "showing off" how I could skate backwards and I skated right into another person skating.  I went down hard, but I made the mistake of trying to catch myself as I went down, so I took the force of the fall with my arm.  It hurt at the time but I 'bucked up' and didn't fuss about it.  I think the embarrassment of the fall covered up my pain!   The next morning I was unable to move my arm. I remember trying to get ready for school.  I had to do everything one handed and could not get my arm to move enough to use my curling iron!  Horrors!!   Somehow I got to school and was working one-armed at my PT job on campus, at the university's candy & cigerette counter (I am sure that place is long gone).  My girlfriend came up to me and suggested I go to the doctor's.  In fact she drove me there - and after x-rays we found I had fractured my bone at the elbow.  So, I needed six weeks in a cast and then some physical therapy afterwards.     (My other bad fall was also while skating - that time I was on roller skates. Perhaps I should keep my feet safely planted on the ground?)

5. If you could own a prop from any film what would you choose?

First, I must say I am not a "collector" of things or autographs from famous people or movies.  So, this question has me baffled.  Hmmmm.   Well, one of my favorite movies of all time is "The Sound of Music" so I guess I would like Maria's guitar.  

6. What is the most interesting word you've read or learned in the past week?

I play a lot of "Words with Friends" on my Iphone, so I am constantly amazed when words I never heard of are accepted and "useable" in the game.   This past week I saw souter, weel, and fey.   Look em up!  ha

7. When was the last time you locked yourself out of your house, car, or office?  Was it a big deal?

Wow.  I can't even think when it was - so it was a long, long time ago.  Now I'm probably jinxed and will lock myself out soon.  (Thanks Joyce - ha!)   I try and do routines with my keys to avoid lockouts.  I try to put my keys in the same place all the time so I know where they are.  I guess it's working!

8. My random thought.

Today's random thought: It's been one year now since I started the "baby layette program" with my church, St. Peter's Lutheran Church.  Women from the church continually donate new/gentle used infant clothing, baby blankets, soaps, towels, etc. - and these  items are then put into a basket to give to new mothers once they have delivered.  The nurses identify the mothers who need them - the are mothers alone, and sometimes don't even have a "going home" outfit for their new little one.  I went by the hospital yesterday to talk to one of the nurses in the OB/maternity area just to make sure it was going smoothly and to see if I could improve on the program.  The nurse told me that ALL the new moms who get them are very receptive and thankful. She told me that everything is going well.   (SMILE)    So, thanks for all the donations this first year - and here's to another year started, so we can give new moms and their new babies a better "start"!  God bless the donors, and the Moms and babies! 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Seeing the world through a camera lens

I have become a crazy photo-taking nut! I know it. I apologize to the many that see my pictures I continually post on Facebook.   But, this is why I have gotten into photography:

*  As singer Gary Allen says "Life ain't always beautiful, but it's a beautiful ride! "  I have opened my eyes up to the beauty around me.

*  Hubby and I have spent a lot of time on our boat, just purchased this summer.  We have discovered a whole 'nother world out there, right in our own backyard - literally.  Beyond our house, and over the old ricefields is the Waccamaw River/Itracoastal Waterway.   From the waterway we have discoverd endless creeks and unspoiled lands, full of nature. 

I always knew we were fortunate to live near the ocean, but I didn't realize how awesome the river system here is too.  We are blessed to live in an area that offers both, and thankfully it's preserved and untouched.  South Carolina has it's share of problems but one thing the state has done right is to protect the rivers, the old ricefields, and the lands around it.  The history is still right there - old "trunks" (locks) for flooding the ricefields, old dock landings, etc.   An era gone by. 

* Camera technology has come a long way!  I have a Canon that fits in my handbag and goes everywhere with me. I am always prepared in case I see something so beautiful or interesting that I just HAVE to "keep" it on film.  Did I say film?  Ha!  Correction:  keep it on my photocard.   I can quickly, and easily, download pictures right on to my computer - and on to my Facebook page. 

* I still love taking pictures of people best - my family, friends, and my dog!  Miss Honeybee is often posing or doing something so cute!  ha!  My kitties are "subjects" too.  But I do love the moments I see, and I want to "capture" them... 

So, bear with me.  Facebook is the perfect place to "album" them and to include captions.  If you are a blogging friend, and would like to see my pics, "friend" me on FB with a note that you want to see my pictures.