Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The last/first Hodgepodge of the year (depending when you read this.)

It's New Year's Eve Day as I read Joyce's questions, and answer them here.   HAPPY NEW YEAR to all my friends who take a few minutes to read this blog. I wish you all a safe start to 2014, and a wonderful year ahead.  I hope life is good to you in the coming year, and that even when you hit the bumps in the road, you can bounce on through...

1. Times Square is the setting for the infamous ball drop signaling a brand new year...when did you last 'drop the ball' on something? 

Thankfully I can't think of anything major that I dropped the ball on this past year.  I have forgotten things every once in a while and I have gotten upset with myself mostly for my "senior moments". I  hope my brain won't get worse.  it scares me sometimes.  

2.  What is one thing you resolved to do in 2013 that you actually did? 

I had to go back to my blog posts from a year ago to see if I actually made any resolutions.  I guess that tells you right there that I didn't follow through... ha!  But, I re- read my posts and saw that I hoped to work on physical fitness - and I didn't stick with it very well.  So, here's a surprise - not.  It's one of my resolutions for this year!

I am blessed to have good genetics and metabolism.  I don't let myself gain weight.  BUT, BUT, BUT as I age I know how important the need to be active and to be aerobic is for my heart and for my bones.  I have been on Boniva now for over a year and I recently had a new dexi-scan which shows bone strength.  The med is helping me and I am no longer categorized as having oesteoporsis.  I don't want to add more prescriptions to my life if I can help it.  So, I need to take care of myself on an on-going basis...and that means exercise!   So, yes, it's one of my 2014 resolutions.  (See my last post.)

3.  Jack London is quoted as saying "You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club."  Agree or disagree?  Why? 

I disagree with Mr. London on this.  I have sat in front of a blank canvas too many times, waiting and hoping for inspiration.  It didn't happen for me.  I prefer to think a person needs to be "open" for inspiration - to walk through life with eyes wide open, looking for good things and looking for new options. And, I got to tell you, I'm a self-proclaimed pacifist and don't like violence in any form so his quote rubs me the wrong way!  No clubbing please!! ha

4. What was the best thing you ate in 2013? 

Seriously??  Only one thing??  That's impossible to answer!  Just last night I had a great steak. We celebrated the new year early!  I love loaded nachos (no jalapenos), and I will never pass up a bite of warm, chocolate of any kind.  Summer tomatoes are awesome - with fresh corn on the cob.  We had ham smothered in brown sugar and pineapple for Christmas - and homemade mac and cheese.   Delicious!   Sorry, but I can't answer with one "best thing".

5.  Share an anti-resolution...that is, something you plan to keep on doing in the new year. 

I wrote about this very thing in my last blog post.  I am fortunate to be doing many things I enjoy and plan to keep doing them in 2014.  I love playing music, and I love putting together the baby layette baskets for the local hospital.  I enjoy my Book Club and plan to attend more of the book discussions.

6.  The Pantone color of the year for 2014 is radiant orchid.   Like or no like?  would I find this color anywhere in your home or wardrobe? Will you add something in this shade to either? 

Last year's color was a shade of green.  I think that was more acceptable for most.  Including me.  Although people tell me I look good in a light purple color, I don't prefer it.  Now, my sister will be right on for this year's color!  She's a "purple person" and wears it often (and she wears it well I must add!  (:  )    

I will not be running out to the store to buy radiant orchid for my home or for my wardrobe.  I have a couple of lilac (soft purple) tops hanging in my closet.  I think that's enough.

7.  In three words or less sum up your 2013. 

Blessed  -  Happy  - Content.

8.   My random thought. 

Wow.  After just writing my 3 words for 2013, all I can say is I hope at the end of 2014 I can write the same ones!  If I was allowed a few more words I would have added "love" and "family".   Actually, I wish the same for everyone...   and I wish good health and peace in this world.

Goodbye 2013 - you've been great.  Hello 2014!!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Do you resolve to change something?

Resolutions.   Everyone thinks about making a few resolutions when a new year hits.  It's that time of year nowto turn the page, to start a new calendar, and to think about resolving things that you are not satisfied with in your life.  Perhaps they are things that have been getting in the way of bringing greater happiness, or perhaps you want to improve yourself - physically, emotionally, spiritually.

Have you thought about it? Do you make resolutions?

To be honest, I don't always.  But, it's 2 days until a new year and I can't seem to sleep right now.  So, it seems like a good time to write down a few ideas for things I'd like to resolve:

1.  I want to work on how I react to things I don't agree with at times.  I want to be "cooler" about it.  Less abrasive.  I want to stop thinking that I know best. I've been known to give a look, and I often jump in and say something quickly without thinking it through.  I hope to do better. I want to think more, respect other opinions, and stay calm.

Let me be clear that that doesn't mean I will be wishy-washy, or not care about subjects or people... hopefully that will NOT change.  I just hope to handle situations better.

2.  It's what everyone says, but yes, I need to get more aerobic for my health.  Move, move move!  I'm getting to an age (well, actually I'm not "getting" there - I'm there) and I need to be more active to help with keeping muscles toned, to help with weight control, and with bringing on the happy endorphines naturally.

3.  I want to work harder on my music.  I get spurts of energy at times that last a day or a week, and I practice and focus on it, but I'm not consistent and I know to really improve and to be more assured in my ability, I need to make it a priority.

4.  I find myself at a time and place where I don't really have to do much that I don't want to do, or that I don't like to do.  Wow!  How wonderful!   It's been a lifetime of getting here...but I have learned to say "no" gracefully and I have reached a time when all of my day-to-day activities are fun for me.  I want to continue doing them in 2014.

I think that's enough.  Too many resolutions and I'm not sure I could work at them all and be successful.  The point is NOT to fail, right?

I hope I can keep mindful of these resolutions as the months of 2014 pass...

No promises.    I resolve to TRY my best to start off working on them.

Ask me how it's going in a few months!  I might need a reminder! ha

Have a happy new year!!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

December 25th has come and gone.

The dread I felt at Thanksgiving is over.   The fear of doing everything that needed to be done is past.  Christmas Day 2013 has come and gone.  Along with it, the parties and the events are done.   There's nothing more on the calendar for December and I'm ready to start a new year.

There were certainly some wonderful moments this month.  As I have already said, the music is a highlight for me.  The candlelight church service too. The family getting together is great!  I enjoy seeing the Christmas lights and enjoy the good food.  Too much though! I still have leftovers in the fridge and my conservative ways won't let me just throw them out.   A funny side story:  my sis-in-law & her hubby ordered us 2 boxes of Shari's Berries and due to the problems with FedEx and the weather, we didn't get them until after Christmas.  Then the next day TWO MORE boxes arrived!!!  Anyone want a chocolate covered strawberry or two?? We have plenty!   Come on over!!

It's funny how the days after Christmas are SO quiet.  I mean...what to do?   It's not time to put away the decorations yet. I like to leave them up until New Year's Day.   It's a reminder for me  that there are actually 12 days in the Christmas season.  You know, like the song...  and although retail marketers try to fool you that it starts before Christmas Day, it doesn't.

So - I go from running around, going to extra events (I missed my Book Club Christmas luncheon in all the hustle and bustle and I'm still upset with myself over it), to making errand lists, and buying extra food for the fridge....to - doing nothing.  Quiet.

I am looking forward to New Year's Day when the SC Gamecocks take on the Wisconsin Badgers.  The bowl game starts at 1pm.  In fact I enjoy the whole couple of days of football at the first of the year - it's the last hurrah of college games.  

After that...  the chore of putting away the decorations. Time to get back to serious reading that I didn't have time for in December - and time to wait for spring.  For warmth.

I am finally exhaling now.  I am happy the craziness of the holiday is over.  I think back on the fun parts for sure!  I loved having my daughters home...  it's a comfort feeling like the "ole days" when they were younger.

So,,,phew.  And....yeah!   And, bring on 2014!!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Dynasty is flawed. Will it survive?

I feel compelled to write this morning after hearing that Phil Robertson of "Duck Dynasty" fame gave a magazine interview where he said that being gay is wrong, and against God's teaching.  He said other things too - not politically correct and rather hurtful to the show.  In fact, I don't know if the producers will be able to "save" the TV show now.  It's very sad that a person's personal belief can do such damage.  But, it sure can.  

I admit that it has changed my view of Phil and the Robertsons.  I know the family is sticking together through this, and supporting Phil.  He has been let go from the show...and I'm not really sure how it can continue on unless they totally write out Miss Kay too.  The producers may just focus on the 4 boys and their families....and Uncle Si! He's a BIG part of the dynasty!! You got to know the producers are having major stress over it right now!!

Here's why I am writing this blog:   I am a Christian and I feel that once again the differences in interpretations of the Word of the Bible has done damage - damage to all Christians.  It happens.  People stereotype groups.  So, Phil's comments have been distressing to other believers in God and in Jesus's message of love and peace.  It has given non-believers ammunition against God and his teachings.   Unfortunately it's a "all in" or "all out" mentality.  "Are you one of them? "

Am I wrong?   I question why Phil spoke up.  But then I think in his mind he was speaking his truth - and the one thing about the Robertsons: they say what they feel!  It's usually very funny.  Or endearing.  This time it wasn't.

Perhaps the Robertsons will overcome it.  Perhaps this is a way for them to step back from all the madness that "Duck Dynasty" has become.   Maybe they need to lay low for awhile.

Freedom of speech is a foundation in our great country.  But, that doesn't mean that speaking won't get you in trouble!  

I fundamentally disagree with Phil Robertson's remarks.  I believe God loves everyone - regardless of their sexuality, or race, or IQ, or status, or anything else.  Viva la difference!  God wants us all to love each other and to live together, honestly caring about each other.  Every single one of us.

I am sad about what has happened.  I enjoyed "Duck Dynasty".  (I didn't like the hunting but over-looked it knowing it was their culture.)   I am also sad that this came out just days before Christmas.  Or, maybe it's a good thing...  because hopefully we all stop and think a bit more about what the baby Jesus brought to the world.  Love, peace, forgiveness, salvation.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tis the Season!

It's the last Hodgepodge before Christmas.  Our "question lady" Joyce is taking next week off to spend time with her family and to take in all things Christmas!  So, before I start in on this week's Hodgepodge I'd like to say MERRY CHRISTMAS to Joyce and to my fellow bloggers!  Have a wonderful celebration!

1.  Do you believes in miracles?

Absolutely!  It's not all "coincidence"... and I have certainly felt "God moments" in my life..... and I have faith.  So, yes, absolutely!

2. What's a recent fad you admit to trying? 

I think I have written about this recently, but I got my hair colored in a "hombre" (I think that's the term).  Light on top, dark on the bottom - and underneath.  I like it a lot!  but, I must admit (and Joanne my hair stylist may read this here) that the last time I got it done I came right home and cut some of it off the bottom.  It was a bit "too extreme" for me.  But, I asked for it that way so I am not complaining.   In general I really like the look!

3.  Peppermint - are you a fan?  if so, what's your favorite food or beverage containing peppermint? 

I only like peppermint as a breath mint!  I am not a fan of it as a dessert or in a beverage.

4.  Break the ice, on thin ice, as cold as ice (emotionally, not literally)...  which phrase have you run into most recently?  Explain.  

I really can't think of an incident recently that would fall into any of the categories listed.  When it comes to cold and ice lets just say I avoid it!  ha!!  I know it's not really what Joyce is asking, but I am a person who prefers warmth in every way!

5.  Have you ever broken or spilled something in someone else's house?  Still friends? 

When I first read this question my mind went all the way back to my childhood and I was at my grandparents home visiting.  My grandmother had a tall, decorative vase that stood on the floor in a walk-through area between the kitchen and living room.   I was with some cousins and somehow it fell over and broke.  I might have been the one to bump it.  I really don't remember if I was...but I definitely remember feeling guilty. I remember my grandfather sternly looking at me and talking to me about it.  I was not a kid that got into trouble much so it's an incident that still remains with me to this day.

I can't think of a time as an adult when I have specifically broken something or spilled a beverage.  But, I'm sure it has happened.  Thankfully, it must not have been a "big deal" and the host overlooked it.  Whew.

6.  Tis the week before Christmas...  are you feeling more like Buddy the Elf or the Grinch before his heart grew? 

I am feeling somewhere in the middle.  I'm not super giddy like Buddy (and I am sure people around me are happy about that), but I am also no longer feeling like the grinch. That's a good thing because around Thanksgiving I admit I was a bit grinch-like.  I was experiencing a bit of dread, thinking of ALL that had to get done in the coming weeks.  I was also feeling sad over the commercialization of Christmas, and the fact that so many celebrate the season without making the birth of Jesus as the center point.

With one week of Advent to go, and most of the pre-Christmas work done I am feeling much  better.  No doubt about it!  The gifts have been bought and most are wrapped.  The house is decorated.  Some social commitments have happened and they have been wonderful.  This week I have something every evening... but I can handle it!  With a real smile on my face!!  ( :

7. Share a favorite quote relating to Christmas. 

I have to say my favorite quote is when Linus tells the Charlie Brown kids the Christmas story (from Luke) in the "Merry Christmas Charlie Brown" TV special.

 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah,the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

8. My random thought.  

Merry Christmas everyone! 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Ups and Downs of Preparing.

Happy Hodgepodging everybody! It's Tuesday and I have a busy day, but I still am making time for the weekly questions and answers.  Why?  It's become a weekly routine and I enjoy reading the other bloggers' answers.   I hope you are making time for things you enjoy as we get closer to Christmas...which leads to the first question:

1.  Are you doing something special to mark this season of Advent?  If so please share. 

Yes, I am. I am going to our church on Wednesdays at 7:00pm for the Holden Evening Service, which is a beautiful musical vespers service.  I am also passing along to my Facebook friends a daily Advent Calendar quote/reminder that I receive each day from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America website.

2.  Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixon, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen... and of course as you recall, the most famous reindeer of all... Rudolph.  So, which reindeer name best describes you this week? 

Vixon! Yep that's me!   Ha!!!        No, really, I think I have to go with Dasher because I'm dashing here and there. (Thankfully not "through the snow!") I'm running lots of errands and getting ready for a small gathering here on Friday evening, and then the arrival of my daughter the next day, and trying to finish up Christmas shopping, etc.    It's the preparing time before the celebration.  But, hey, isn't that what Advent is all about?

3.  What's worse - too quiet or too loud?  Which have you had more of lately? 

I never mind "too quiet"... and at times I down right enjoy everything being very still and quiet.  So, my answer is that I feel worse when things are too loud, for too long! I get a headache from "over-load".  It's just how I'm wired. I know that some people enjoy the "hustle and bustle of the season" but not this girl.   During this time of year I make a point to make time for quiet...or I'll go a bit crazy!

 4.  When you are administratively gifted, how often do you find yourself not trusting less- gifted people to do what they've committed to do?   If you are not so gifted that way, but are reliable, how do you feel when the stronger person goes ahead and covers it before giving you a chance to come through? 

This question came from one of our regular bloggers and I'm guessing she is dealing with a particular situation right now. I'm not sure if she is the administrative person or not, but I know that it's sometimes a problem in committees, because often one person "takes over" to get it done THEIR way.   I have certainly been in groups that have had those dynamics.   I consider myself someone able to do a job thoroughly and efficiently, and  I can think back on times when someone has been "pushy."  It can be one ego against another.  Thankfully, over the years I have learned to let the other person go - and do - and be happy.  It all works out in the end.  It's not worth making a big issue over.

5.  What is your most dreaded task relating to the holidays?  Your task most looked forward to at this time? 

I do not like grocery shopping on a regular day, so shopping pre-Christmas and planning out the meals and providing food is definitely not my thing at this time of year.   I do a bit of baking in December just to have cookies around, etc. Plus, I have more people in the house (that part is GOOD!) and so I have to shop more, buy more, hope to have the "right" items on hand and prepare more.

My favorite task?  I suppose wrapping gifts.  I would say decorating the house, but as I do it I think how I have to "un-decorate" a few weeks later and I do NOT like that part.  Although once everything is put away again I like the "emptiness" and cleanliness of the house.   Can you tell this time of year can be a real tug of war within me??

6.  Facebook has released its list of the "most talked about topics of 2013." Pope Francis took the number one spot. Does that surprise you?  He was followed by election, royal baby, typhoon, and Harlem Shake. Your thoughts?  What was your most talked about topic in 2013  (Facebook, around the kitchen table, or where-ever it is you talk) ?

Yes, I am surprised that Pope Francis came in on top of the list, but I am pleasantly surprised.  I have never been a big fan of popes in general (I'm not Roman Catholic) but I like this one so far.  I like that he is humble, and reaching out, and going out to the poor, and more accepting of people in general.  He is not as rigid with his doctrine as other popes have been.  It's about time!

I can certainly see election, royal baby, and typhoon showing up on the list.  Harlem shake?  Ok.  But, what happened to "twerking"?   I wish gun control would be on the list.  I also am surprised Obamacare was not in the top 5.  Go figure.

7.  What's something you consider a necessity that others might view as a luxury? 

Oh, what a loaded question.  I mean, really, beyond a dry & warm home, enough food to eat, and love in your life...isn't everything else a luxury?   I thank God every day for my blessings and feel the need to give back, and to help those who need it. But, if this question is asked more "friviously" then I'd say my Cafe Francais coffee. I start every morning with it.

8.  My random thought. 

I can't believe college football is over but the bowls!  I'm a bit sad about it.   My Gamecocks will be playing the Wisconsin Badgers on New Year's Day.  I will watch most of the bowls... and then it's a quiet sports time for me. I'm not a big basketball viewer.  I know the Olympics are coming in February. That's something to look forward to watching.  In fact, Joyce, that might make a good future Hodgepodge question or two...will you be watching?  What's your favorite event to watch?  Have you been to Russia?   etc. etc.    Just a thought.

Have a good Advent week!!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

How do you celebrate?

One of the reasons I find this time of year "challenging" is because I struggle inside myself with what I call the "false Christmas hoopla."  And, guess what?  Sometimes I think the false Christmas is winning out and I feel pretty frustrated about it.

When I was growing up in a religious family we celebrated Christmas solely as the time to remember the birth of Jesus Christ.  Now, granted, I grew up as a daughter of a pastor, so I know I was not in an ordinary home -  my Dad had "extra work" during Advent and Christmas.  There were more services, the children's program, etc.   Oh - and the beautiful music!  Hymns like "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" and "Silent Night".  One of my favorites has always been "Lo, How a Rose Ere Blooming."   The church was decorated and then lit by beautiful candlelight!

My parents never brought Santa Claus into our house.  I never heard of Jolly Ole St. Nick coming down a chimney. (Don't feel sorry for me.)  Token gifts were given to each other as expressions of love, and remembering that the wise men brought gifts to honor the baby king.

Christmas Eve was about going to church.  As a kid I know I did it because it was what my family did...I learned from them... it was tradition.  My grandparents celebrated Jesus's birth and their parents before them,  and my parents...and so I learned what the real reason for Christmas was. I heard the true story read from Luke in the Bible every year.

What  has happened over the years?  Today the secular Christmas is everywhere! It's taken over.  Santa seems to be front and center.  Buying gifts has become unbelievably big business.  I just saw a TV commercial for a new reality show about people "fighting" to have the best holiday lights!  People get edgy this time of year (me included), wondering what to buy and what to bake, and who to invite, and how much to give.   Expectations are SO high! Travel is difficult.  Calendars get full.

Is it me?  Or, is there a collective sigh on December 26th?  Phew. We made it through another year.  Maybe I feel this way because I'm an aging adult and I have watched so many Christmas celebrations come and go.

Each November I truly think to myself...THIS YEAR I'm not going to do anything but prepare to worship the Lord.  I'm not going to do any of the "false Christmas" stuff.   But, I don't stick to it.  How can I?  People would think I'm a stick in the mud, that I don't like to have fun... that I am a scrooge.  Bah Humbug.  

So, here it is.  December 5th.   20 days to go.   We are in Advent, preparing for Christmas.  I'm working on being patient...being focused...finding the joyful parts.  Trying my best to celebrate the Christ child.

So far, "Christ" is still in the holiday name.  Will that change one day?  Will it be declared politically incorrect, and offensive to others?  Possibly.   How many people now say "Merry Christmas" and don't even think about the origin...the Christ?  

Oh yes, I'm frustrated.  I'm stressed.  I worry about expectations.  BUT....BUT...BUT I also still have faith, and I still go on...and I celebrate. I want to be an example.  I love the family time. I love the music. I love the tingles I get on Christmas Eve at church.   I keep on keeping on...and I repeat over and over "It's all about the baby Jesus."  

How do you celebrate?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Sights and sounds

Welcome to this week's edition of the Hodgepodge.  It's a busy time for me and everyone, but I enjoy this question-answer session, so I continue to make time for it.  What do you make time for during the holiday season?

Thank you Joyce for the the questions - without further ado, my answers!

1. According to Oxford Dictionaries, the 2013 word of the year is 'selfie.' Your thoughts? When did you last take a selfie?  Do you post them online somewhere?  Do you prefer to be in front of the camera or behind the lens? 

I think 'selfie' is a good choice for the word of the year.   It certainly has become widely known, and it is another example of how technology is changing everything in our world, including our language.   The last selfie I took was about a month ago, on the day I got my hair colored - and wanted to show my daughters and my sister.  I attached the pic to a text to the three of them.  I have NOT posted any selfie pics on Facebook though.

As for my choice of being in front of the camera or behind it, I enjoy both!  I LOVE to take pictures and now with digital photography, I love being able to take many shots and delete those I don't like.  I can be a bit over the top with the number of pictures I post on Facebook - of my family, my dogs, and the beautiful area where I live!  I know. And yes,  I also like being in pictures IF (it's a big IF) I like the way I look in the shot!!  Again, thank goodness there is a delete button!

2.  Will you send out Christmas cards this year?  If so, are they ready to go?  If not, are you glad or sad about leaving the tradition behind?

I am not ready to give up on this tradition!  In fact, in November I ordered cards and they are sitting here on my kitchen table, waiting for me to get going on them.  My card list is smaller than in the past.  I don't send cards out to people I see all the time. But, I still enjoy hearing once a year from some "old" friends in far away places, so I know I need to send cards to hopefully receive some.  I love receiving the cards with pictures and/or letters about the past year.

Oh! I really need to get working on mine!  ( :

3.  Do you trust easily? 

Yes!  Perhaps too easily. But that's me!   I believe in taking people at their word, and honoring the word.  I don't want to be cynical and think someone is purposely lying to me.  That's a sad way to be.

4.  Pine - cinnamon - peppermint - vanilla (sugar cookie)...  of those listed, which one is your favorite December scent? 

Cinnamon is my favorite!  I like pine aromas, but in small doses.   And to tell you the truth, peppermint and vanilla (sugar cookie) can be too sweet smelling and make me a little sick.

5.  Did you do more talking or more listening yesterday. Was that by choice or necessity?

I've got to say it was about 50/50 yesterday.  I had some nice interactions in the afternoon when I was at my church's quilting get-together.  We meet once a month and I help lay the squares out and pin them.  Others then stitch, tie, etc.  I worked yesterday with a church friend, Mary, and we spent the time catching up on our families, etc.  She and her hubby just got back from a cruise for Cincinnati Reds fans which I found very interesting!  There was one current player but also some retired Reds players on it with them.  I have thought about going on a country music cruise.  (Bet you are not surprised!)

I also spent a little time talking with my next door neighbor in the evening - while we walked our dogs on the street together.

6.  What's the last song that got stuck in your head?  (Sorry if it's back there now! ( :   ) 

I have a strange brain because I find that I am often humming - while I'm working on a project, or cleaning, or whatever - and it's not really one particular song.  I kind of make up songs as I hum!  I do it often!  I know...weird.   But, to answer the question, I suppose the last song that got stuck in my head was "The Highway Don't Care" (Yes, April - it's A Tim McGraw song!!).  I love it - and "pretend" I'm singing the Taylor Swift part. Hey - don't judge me!?!

7.  Which world explorer would you most like to have traveled with, and why?

First I have to say, I am not adventurous enough to go "where no man has gone before" and I'm guessing there were no Hyatt Hotels there! But, to answer the question, I suppose Ponce de Leon was my kind of guy, looking for the Fountain of Youth! ha!

8.  My random thought. 

I wrote a blog a couple of weeks on this, but it bears repeating!  As I go through this busy time I am doing my best to remember that Christmas is about the birth of the baby Jesus.  That's what I celebrate!! I love family time together too of course. But, all that other stuff, is just the  "extras"...and I need to keep focused on "the main event!!"

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

What I am thankful for...

It's Thanksgiving eve, and as it so happens, I am alone -  and having a glass of wine and thinking about what I am thankful for in my life.

First, I am thankful for chardonnay and computers.  I am thankful for Facebook and blogging, and for those who share it with me.

I am thankful for my family, who made me and who understand me (sometimes) and love me at my best and at my worst.  (Not that they have a choice! You can pick friends; not family.)

I am thankful for the good genes that help me age as gracefully as one can.

I am thankful for a husband who gives me unconditional love, a partnered life, financial ease,  married security, commitment, and he still makes me laugh. I enjoy being with him.  I am proud of who he is!

I am thankful for two daughters who turned out beautiful, sensible, smart, and loving. I am thankful for my relationship with them.

I am thankful for unconditional love from pets.  They make each day of living special.

I am thankful for the gift of music.  Music always lifts me. I feel it in my soul.

I am thankful for friends, especially those few who are there through the years - through the life changes, the ups and downs, the ones that are empathetic and listen.

I am thankful for my health and the ability to move, and do, and to use myself to help others.

I am thankful for living here in this community I love and call home, and for the United States, that despite political issues, still is an amazing, wonderful place to be.

I am thankful for having faith.  I am thankful that somehow in my life I have opened up and listened to God talking to me, and have therefore learned, and put my all in His hands.  He knows me and loves me - so, therefore I do not worry about my purpose. It is to serve Him as I know all things written above in this blog come from Him.

Thank you!

Plans change

Hello Hodgepodge readers!  I thought I'd be on the road right now, traveling up to northern Ohio for thanksgiving with my family.  But, plans change... and sometimes you just have to go with it.  I'll keep you in suspense until question #7 since it asks to share my Thanksgiving plans there.

1.  Are you settling for something? 

I can't think of anything that I am "settling" for in my life.  I tend to think that everything happens for one reason or another and to go with it.  I don't like the term "settling" because it means it's not really what is preferred.  I have a blessed life so I don't feel I need to just make do, and for that I am VERY thankful!

2.  This year many stores will be open all day on Thanksgiving Day. In your opinion is this a good thing or a not so good thing?  Will you be shopping on Thanksgiving day? 

I think it is wrong for retail stores to open up on Thanksgiving Day.  Really people!! It's a National holiday!   I think the employees should have the whole day off to spend with family and friends.  Therefore, I will not shop on Turkey Day and hope others feel the same way and stay away from stores too.  If it turns out to be a weak shopping day then, perhaps, the retailers will rethink it next year and give the employees the time off.  I do not shop on Black Friday either.  I know some people love getting out in the masses, and love the "hustle and bustle" and even will patiently wait in long lines to save a few bucks.  Not me.  No thanks.  You won't find me there.

3.  Speaking of shopping...   there was a recent article on the 12 best shopping cities in the world. In order they are - New York, Tokyo, London, Kuala Lumpus, Paris, Hong Kong, Buenos Aires, Vienna, Dubai, Madrid, Milan, and Seoul.   Ever shopped in any of the cities listed?  In which city would you most like to pull out the plastic or cold hard cash? 

I have done some "tourist shopping" in New York, London, Paris, and Vienna.  From the list of top shopping cities I have been to those four to sight-see...not really to shop.  But, yes, I have picked up a souvenoir or two.  I'm not big into shopping in general so I would not pull out a credit card or cash in any of the cities.  Instead, I would prefer to spend my time & money seeing interesting spots, and going to the museums.

4.  When did you last dine by candlelight? 

Wow. Interesting question...because hubby and I used to dine by candlelight often.  I think it's been more rare in the past few years.  The last time was about a month ago at our riva cabin.  We cooked on the grill and ate by candlelight on our screened porch.

5.  What do you have too much of? 

Well, a simple - but loaded - question, isn't it?!  I have too much of everything!  It makes me think of Keith Urban's song "I just want a little bit of everything"! Seriously,  I have plenty of love, friendship, food, clothes, etc.  But if you ask the question in a more frivilous way...I suppose I have too many flip-flops. I tend to collect them! I love wearing flip-flops so I buy all kinds, in all kinds of colors and some with cute designs.

6.  The Hunger Games... are you a fan?  did you read the book(s)?  Will you/have you seen the movie?  "Catching Fire"? 

I have not read the book(s) and have not seen the movies.  In general I do not like science fiction books and movies.  And, I really don't like anything that puts peoples lives at risk -and show it as a game!  I don't get it.  I much prefer real movies, about real emotions, etc.  And, I will watch a funny movie over sci-fi too, as long as it's written well and not getting laughs by dropping curse words right and left.  Guess you can tell I don't see many movies!  There are not many that are released that seem good to me.

7. Share your plans for Thanksgiving Day.  The who, the where, the what...  especially the what! 

Originally I had planned to drive from here, SC, to northern Ohio to spend Thanksgiving Day with many members of my family.  It's an annual event to have the meal at my sister's home, and to hang out there all day.  Then the next day we celebrate what we call "Thanksmas" because we can't get together at Christmas.  So, we have a small gift exchange on Friday.

Well, plans changed.  I spent yesterday working on getting rid of a headache and I spent a lot of time sleeping.  I don't know if it was a migraine, or tension, or sinus.  Maybe a combination of all three.  I also spent time yesterday watching The Weather Channel and the named storm Boreas as it traveled across the mid-west, south & east.  My drive on a good day from here to Medina, Ohio would take 12 hours.  Add in holiday traffic and add another 2 hours... then add the forecast of bad weather, and I just figured it wasn't best for me to go.  It was snowing in the mountains of NC, and VA, and W VA.  Ohio had snow yesterday.  If you read my blogs, you KNOW I do not like cold weather and snow...and I get nervous having to drive in it.

So, I am staying home.  It's for the best.  Don't feel too sorry for me.  My sweet cousin who lives here has invited me over to her place tomorrow for the Thanksgiving meal.  And, my one daughter is coming in from Charlotte too.  She's coming despite her horrible allergies to the pugs and kitties here.  So, I'm thankful for having a backup plan.  Got to add on:  I'm thankful for my BFF who just called me and we yakked for a half hour or more - twice getting disconnected and calling back.  We are "the wind beneath our wings" at times.  Today was one of them.  It was good to hear from her, and she made me laugh!

Happy Thanksgiving blogging and FB friends!

Friday, November 22, 2013

My holiday mantra

So, it's just a few days til Thanksgiving and then off we go with the season of craziness leading up to Christmas.  So now is the perfect time for me to remind myself to take each day as it comes, to enjoy the good things about this time of year - and to downplay (and not stress over) all the other "stuff" that goes on.

Here is my December mantra:  Enjoy the season!  Remember it really is all about the baby Jesus!

So, here are a few things I think are the good things about the season:

*The music!  I love hearing and playing the Christmas music!

* Getting family and friends together!   This is a double-edged sword.  It's one of the best parts of December, but it also increases my fret level. I want everything looking nice, and I want everyone to be happy when they are here in the house.  I put it on myself.  I realize it...   thus, the mantra...

Enjoy the season!  Remember it really is all about the baby Jesus!

* The Children's program at church.  Each Christmas I love watching the children portray the nativity story.  There is nothing better than watching young ones talk about baby Jesus!   I guess that's why the Charlie Brown Christmas Special is still my favorite!  So sweet - so beautiful!

* I love the decorations and the lights.   Again, it's a bit of a double-edged sword for me.  I do the decorating in the house and I want it to look pretty... and I am proud of my house all bright and festive for the season.  But, it's work.  And, as I put it up I think about how it all has to come down in a few weeks.

Mantra:  Enjoy the season!  Remember it really is all about the baby Jesus!

* The Christmas Eve candlelight service is the highlight of it all.  It's a tingly moment of joy! It's a celebration of God, and His love for us!  I can't imagine going through the season and not experiencing it.  I feel sorry for those who get caught up in all the hoopla of a secular Christmas but don't go to church and sing "Silent Night" followed by "Joy to the World".   So, I suggest to them...try it!  Hear the message!

I'm not a baker but I try and make some cookies and other goodies for Christmas. And, I'm not in love with shopping, even on a quiet day at the mall, so I do my best to buy gifts away from the crowds. I feel the pressure of finding the perfect gifts for loved ones.  I do the wrapping, and I stock the kitchen.  

Reminder...enjoy the season!   Remember it really is all about the baby Jesus!

Yep, I'll be repeating this mantra a lot in December.  

Here we go!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


I noticed that Joyce's questions for the Hodgepodge today have to do with making choices.  I guess making choices is what makes life interesting!

1.  What lesson has failure taught you? 

Failure has taught me a few lessons for sure, but most importantly I have learned that whatever went wrong is not going to be the end of the world.  Tomorrow still comes.  People move on.  If something I tried failed I know it was worth the effort, and not to be upset with myself for long.  In a few days or so it's usually forgotten.   Time heals.

2.  What decision are you glad you made? 

You mean beside the decision to marry my hubby?  And the decision to have my children?   Those are the top two!  Another decision I was happy I made was to stay home with my daughters as they were growing up.  I was fortunate that we had enough money as a one-income family, so I was able to be with my children, and I was able to get involved at their schools.  Absolutely no regrets!

3.  Tell the truth: is your tree up and decorated, and if so when did it happen?  If not when will you be decking the halls? 

No - no - no! I am a "one holiday at a time" person!  My Christmas tree will not go up until after December 1st.  I like to wait until the start of Advent.  At least I understand (sort of) how stores decorate early to get people thinking about buying gifts, but why we have to follow suit I do not get!? My neighborhood put up the Christmas lights at the entrance gates over a week ago. When I first saw them go up I thought it was for convenience but surely they would not be lit up yet! Well - they were!

I love Christmas lights but if they go up so early it loses some of the magic by December 25th.  My opinion.  And, I like to keep the tree & lights up through the season of Christmas.  There are 12 days of Christmas, starting on the 25th.  So I don't un-decorate until after the new year.

4.  Solitaire - Poker - Rummy - Hearts - Go Fish - Old Maid...   which game of cards would you most like to join? 

I don't play cards on a regular basis, but I always enjoy a game of Hearts.  For family fun around the table we sometimes play Dominoes.  Not as much thought! ha!!

5.  When feeling stressed do you snack a lot or are you more the 'can't eat' type? 

I have been blessed to have an internal switch that doesn't let me over-eat or binge eat very often. So, I have never used food as a stress release or for some other deeper psychological need.  Basically I just don't feel good when I stuff myself and it's not worth it.  So, I don't.

6.  Have you ever reviewed a product or service on line?  Was your review favorable or less than favorable? 

Thinking back the only thing I have taken time on line to review is some new music videos.  I was on a list of people that got sent new videos that CMT was considering for air, usually from new artists.  I would watch the videos and then respond to questions about it...questions like if it was appropriate for the country music channel, if I liked the story line, if I would enjoy seeing it numerous times, etc.  

7.  What was the best conversation you had yesterday? 

I am writing this on Tuesday, so yesterday (Monday) was a day I stayed home and cleaned, and worked on making signs for a church festival this Saturday.  I practiced my flute, walked the dogs, etc.  But I was not involved in any deep conversations yesterday.  My hubby flew up to Boston... so I guess my best conversation of the day came last night as he, both our daughters, and I were all texting together during the Panthers-Patriots game.    Texting counts, right??    ( :

8.  My random thought. 

This is nothing new for those who know me:  I had a lovely day yesterday because Mother Nature decided to bring summer back temporarily and I was back in my shorts and flip flops! I opened the house windows and took the dogs on two nice long walks.   It was beautiful - and my mood was practically euphoric.  Saying that, I realize I am considered shallow because weather effects me so much.   Today:  back to chilly temps and it's going to be windy later.   Ugh.     Weather-related:  My thoughts are with those in the mid-West, especially Illinois, who are now homeless from the tornado activity.   And in the Phillipines...   oh my, Mother Nature can certainly be devastating at times.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Talking turkey and more in the Hodgepodge

This week's Hodgepodge questions hit home with Thanksgiving and Christmas coming quickly.  Thanks Joyce for reminding me to "get er done"...but first I'll answer your questions.

1. Describe a typical Sunday from your childhood. 

Since I am the daughter of a Lutheran pastor my Sunday morning always started with getting up and ready for Sunday School and church.  We would get home from church around noon and have a light lunch.  I remember occasionally getting a fast food hamburger which was a big deal back then because we rarely ate out. Since Sunday was a working morning for Dad, he would prefer to come home and chill afterwards - and watch sports on TV.   So, that's what I did too.  And I did homework... nothing very exciting.

2.  How comfortable are you with uncertainty?  Explain. 

I am NOT comfortable with uncertainty, and I also do not like waiting to the last minute to make plans.  I find my life is less stressful, and therefore I am happier, when I have a plan, or have things on a calendar. I do not always do well with "a change of plans" but I am working on it.

3. What have you accomplished recently that might be described as craft, as in 'arts and crafts' crafty? 

I am helping with an event coming up at my church in two weeks, called the "Apple Dumpling Festival" which will raise money for a few local charities.  I'm not a kitchen person so I am not helping with the dumplings, but we also sell some crafts and holiday items.  So, I have been TRYING to come up with something nice, quick, and sellable!  My first thought was to make Advent Calendars, until I 'pinterested' and realized it was too difficult and time consuming.  Now I am working on making felt ornaments...but my hearts not into them. And, they really don't look that great,  Anybody have a wonderful, quick craft idea?   I could use it.

4. Have you ever worked in a 'food place"?  What did you take away from the experience? 

Yes, I worked part-time at both Burger King and Ponderosa when I was in high school.  I enjoyed the experiences, and I enjoyed my first go-round at working and earning a paycheck!  I also enjoyed the free food! ha!  What did I take away from the experiences?  Those jobs are thank-less and it seems these days there are not many teens working fast food anymore.  It's impossible for an adult to make enough to support themselves - so I understand why some have been striking, asking for decent wages.  We all love to occasionally eat at a fast food place but we don't want to consider the needs of the employees.  Sorry - I'm getting off on a tangent.  It just doesn't seem right that the food company owners (or shareholders) are making millions while their employees can't support themselves.

5.  Cold turkey, talk turkey, what a turkey... in recent days, which turkey phrase or idiom best applies to you and why?

Hmmmm, I guess I will go with "cold turkey" only because I have been sick the last few days - and so I had to go "cold turkey" on my plans.  I'm not one to get sick often, and I usually  keep myself busy, so when I get a bug all plans have to be stopped for a day or two.  Saturday I had a migraine when I was  up in Raleigh helping my daughter move... that had to come to a stop on my part. I found a piece of carpet in a corner and put a dark jacket over my head.  Then the night before last I got the creepy crud and was up all night.  So, yesterday I was zapped of energy and lay in bed.  I hated missing out on a beautiful day...and doing things I like to do.  But, yesterday I had to go "cold turkey."

6.  If you could have one guest join in at your Thanksgiving dinner table, who would it be? 

If you are including the deceased, then it would have to be my mother.

7.  What is one thing you must accomplish today? 

Perfect question since I'm getting over bring sick.  I have a few things on my calendar today.  I must get to my hair appointment!! We women know how important that is!!!  It's time for "restoring" the color, and actually I'm going to get a bit more of a hombre color put in it.  Last time I had my stylist test it out a bit on my ends, but this time I think I want more of an impact.   I also have Bible Study today - and Flute practice, followed by community band rehearsal today.  I hope I make it through the day!

8.  My random thought.

I saw on Facebook this morning that some snow fell up in northern NJ, where I used to live.  I think it was just a dusting - but enough that a few of my girlfriends commened on it.  More power to you up in the cold and snowy lands!  It's not for me.  I hope you enjoy it though...  

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Family and Peanut Butter

Welcome to the weekly Hodgepodge, hosted by Joyce.  Today is her sister's birthday...  so she asks:

1.  What's one way you're like your siblings? 

Of course, there are many ways...  but for my sister and I, we sound the same.  When I leave a telephone message - or she does - I hear the same voice! ha!    As for my brother and I, we both are tall, and we both have the same nose.  The height is good - but I don't know if the nose shape is all that wonderful!?!

2.  What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think of yourself at age eighteen?

At eighteen I was starting college so I picture it as the first time away from home, and living in a dorm (second floor, Saylor-Ackerman) at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio.  I was excited, meeting new people, reconnecting with an old family friend, and basically enjoying my first college experience.  It was a good  "transitional" place to go. The school wasn't too big, and it helped to have a bit of family roots already there.  My Dad and my sister had attended the school.

3.  Sculptor - actor - painter - dancer...   if you could excel in one of these arts, which would you choose and why? 

Well, Joyce did not include "singer" and I think it would be my answer. It's what I have always wished I could excel at...but picking from her choices: a dancer.  A dancer feels music and uses her body to interpret it.  And think of the exercise!!   I love anything to do with music.  The other art forms listed are wonderful too, and actually, the sculptor, actor, and painter can all leave a permanent piece of art, and that's pretty cool.

4.  What's a scent that takes you back in time, and where does it take you? 

I remember as a child the scent of my grandmother Fogt's soap. She used Dove or Camay... and we used Dial at home.  So, when I was visiting her - and staying there - the scent of her sweet soap filled the small bathroom and it was lovely!  I only experienced that fragrant smell when I was there.

5.  November is for peanut butter lovers (National Peanut Butter Lovers Month). Are you a lover or a hater?  What's your favorite dish/recipe that calls for peanut butter? 

Peanut butter!!!  I Love love love it!  It's my "go to" snack item.  I love pb on crackers and a cold glass of milk.  I also love it warm on toast.  In fact, most mornings I have a peanut butter sandwich for breakfast.  The weird part?  I prefer pb with mayo, not jelly.  Did anybody else grow up like I did with having peanut butter and mayonaise sandwiches?   Absolutely marvelous!  And to make it really special, add a leaf or two of lettuce!   I do not cook with it tho.

6.  What do people thank you personally for most often? 

I'd have to say perhaps some of the things I do around my church.  But...I like being involved and I like helping, so I'm not doing it for thanks.

7.  What event this year are you most thankful for? 

It's hard to narrow it down to one event.  I am thankful for the summer gatherings we had this year, and the family time together...  we had them at our "riva cabin" here and at Lakeside, Ohio.  I'm thankful for the special church times and festive holiday get-togethers.

8. This week's random thought. 

It's November.  What?  It's November?   Oh, help me... I'm coming into my tough time...colder weather, more darkness than daylight, stress of shopping, etc.  Come on Spring!  Is that terrible to say?  Probably. I walked my doggies this morning at 6:30am and I looked like a hobo dressed in jammies, robe, socks, scarf, and gloves - and I was still chilly.  When I get cold I am not happy.   I need to remind myself of the wonderful parts of the winter months.  Ummm....   can somebody help me out?  A suggestion?   I DO see my girls at Christmas and I love that!!!  I'll focus on that.   ( :

Monday, November 4, 2013

Women and happiness

I'm a bit deep in thought this morning on what brings happiness to women.  I do not want to be specific, but I have on my heart right now a couple of ladies who are searching for it - and for the peace that comes with it.  I know that the expression goes "happiness comes when you stop searching for it"...but how can women stop looking - and hoping - and just relax about it?  How can they live in the moment, and be content?

It's definitely a hard thing to do.  I think back on my own life...and especially when I was in my 20's on a nice "career path" but also wanting more.   There came a time when I had to make some decisions on WHO I wanted to be.  I then had to "accept" the decisions I made and I had to "go with my gut".  No regrets.  When I look back I see my decisions were right, and my life has been wonderful.  But, it's true that sometimes life can get in the way of finding that happiness.  The bills need to be paid, and there are expectations to meet for others.

I didn't search for a financially easy life but I have been fortunate.  I made enough when I was single to live fine, and my husband has been a very successful provider.  Still, those expectations - and my concern over what others thought about me were challenging at times.  And let me not kid myself, just last week I met someone and she asked me "where do you work?"  and I still felt uncomfortable answering her, trying to explain my life of being home - and volunteering, etc.  

In my 40's I went through another time of questioning my future, and how best to find happiness.  I've written about it before - living in NJ, being there during 9/11, seeing my role change as an empty-nester, etc.  It was a little rough for awhile.  I had to re-evaluate.  And, I learned to realize modern medicine can be a wonderful thing at stressful times.

But, thankfully I have hindsight now at my age to KNOW I made the right decisions and that I am very happy with my life.  I am content - I am peaceful.   And... I have faith.

I think faith is a big part of it.  "Letting go - and letting God" has been my motto for quite a while now and it certainly helps me pause and let happiness happen.  I want to emphasize this to other people, and to those women on the search for happiness, because it has made such a big difference in my life.  But, it's hard to do without coming across "holier than thou" to them...and I know we all go on faith journeys at different times - and at different speeds.  But, again, let me say: believing in God brings me much happiness!  I love the good times more and I know they are a blessing.  I also realize the bad and sad times are part of life but God will see me through them.   Faith.

I also want to address the notion of living a "fake life" to please others - something women have been known to do!   Oh - my!  What a lot of work, and what a tiring way to be.  I have learned that telling a lie, and especially LIVING a lie, will never allow peace and happiness.  Ok, I don't know from personal experience because I can't live with myself when I tell a lie...or purposely hide things.  But I have seen it take its toll on other women...and again, it's hard to be happy when "playing games."

I want to tell women seeking happiness - BE STRONG!  Be sure of yourself!   Value your decisions!  I don't know how to make them that way - boy, I wish I did, because sometimes it's very frustrating to me.  I want to shake them a little and say "YOU are able to make your own way - and own path to happiness!"   It doesn't have to be on the arm of a man, or their checkbook.  I know, any of you reading this, are thinking...sure, Marla - look at you.  You have both a man & a bank account.  What do you know?   Fair.  But, I KNOW that from the time I was first out of college and living on my own, working, paying my bills, etc. I was able to do things...anything that I wanted to do!  Travel?  yes.  Drive into a city? sure.  Go to a movie alone?  absolutely.  I was going to live my life...

I found a person who understood my independence - and my desire to continue to be ME and not change.   Had I not, yes, my life would have certainly gone another direction.  Career would have been a priority.  But, I'd like to think I'd be "off and running"!  

I have no PHD or pyschology degree, but this blog gives me a small spot to share my views and hopes - and prayers on issues, and for some people.  By now, you might be really turned off at what I have written, but I hope not. I say these things with love - and with the deepest wish that women love themselves and then can find faith and contentment.  Then guess what?   Happiness achieved!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

It's ALL about Halloween.

It's Tuesday, which is Hodgepodge day for me - and it's just two days until Halloween.  This week's questions all have something that relate with Halloween, so let's delve right in...if you dare....

1.  What's something you're dealing with that might be described as 'tricky?'

Tricky as "challenging?"  I have offered to make Advent calendars to sell at our church festival happening right before Thanksgiving. I have gathered the supplies, and I have looked up options on Pinterest...  but I have not been able to move on from there and time is moving along.  I'm afraid to "start in"...and I'm worried they will look juvenile and cheap... and nobody will want to buy them!  Help!

2.  What's your favorite treat of choice? 

When I was a kid and I went "trick or treating" I would come back at the end of the evening and dump out my treats on the living room floor and then divide the candy up by type and favorite.  I loved getting Milky Ways and M & M's the best!  Close behind: Reese's Cups and peanut M & M's.  My older sister and brother emptied their bags too and we compared our "hauls"...and did some trading.   Oh - what fun!

3.  Did you/will you carve a jack-o-lantern this month?  Which real (living or dead) fictional 'Jack' would you most like to meet in person?  Why? 

I did not carve a pumpkin this year.  I haven't participated in carving since my daughters have gotten older and are not home for Halloween time. ) :  I bought a small real pumpkin though, and put it out on my front porch.  And, I have a fake (resin) jack-o-lantern to light up on the 31st.   A fictional Jack I'd like to meet?  How about a "Jack of all Trades?"   He'd be handy!

4.  in your opinion, what's the grossest sounding word in the English language? 

I don't like the word "slither"... because I don't like anything that does it!

5. When did your heart last skip a beat? 

Skip a beat in fear?  I'm a scaredy-cat when it comes to doing anything up in the air. I like my two feet on the ground.  So, I know my heart skipped a beat or two when I was up on a ladder cutting/trimming ivy on the front of our house.  I was also worried about snakes hiding in the ivy!!

6.  "Monster Mash" by Bobby 'Boris' Picket, Michael Jackson's "Thriller," "Werewolves of London" by Warren Zevon, or Ray Parker Jr.'s "Ghostbusters"...  your favorite 'scary' tune? 

I think I have to pick "Thriller" for the song and the video!  It was such a breakthrough for music & movie making at that time.  I like the song...  and love Vincent Price in the middle of it.   The other ones listed are a bit too "pop-sounding" for me.

7.  It was a dark and stormy night when...

...I locked the doors, lit a fire in the fireplace, poured a glass of wine, and put on a funny movie (I don't like scary movies AT ALL!!)

8.  My random thought. 

Halloween thoughts... the "in" costumes this year:  Duck Dynasty family members, Miley Cyrus for the daring.   What else are you seeing?   And, Halloween traditions?  What are the new ones? It seems many children don't go house to house anymore.  So it's parties and going to a "trick and trunk" at church.  The history of Halloween was to scare away evil spirits from homes - the night before "All Saints Day".  Dressing up was to "fool" the spirits.   I like to remember the saints that died this past year...  we lost some good ones.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Interesting questions. Serious thoughts.

First, for those bloggers wondering....yes, we did get the rescue pug! We got her this past Thursday and she is a sweet, loving little girl.  She is fitting right in with the family, especially with our "first-born" pug Miss Honeybee.  We have named this one Miss Daisy and we are working on her knowing her new name.  She needs to be spayed but she is in excellent condition and is a beauty of a pug!!!  (Of course, they ALL are!)

This week's Hodgepodge questions and my answers:

(by the way, Joyce: I love this mix of questions this week!)

1.  When it comes to good manners, what two top your list of most important? 

First, using "please" and "thank you" - with everyone, including those people you know well.  It's a sign of respect and courtesy.  It keeps conversation civil and it never gets old.  Second, NEVER use curse words in normal conversation.  I believe it is the opposite of civility.  Using foul language is a way of sounding tough, and sometimes sounding like you just can't find a better word in its place.  I admit that if I meet someone and they toss those words around when talking to me I feel that 1) they are uneducated, 2) they are trying to be mean - or cool - or something they are not, and 3) I immediately put up a wall.  It makes me nervous.  But, maybe that's what they want.  

2.  Let's open a proverbial can of worms...Common Core.  Are you familiar with the term (talking education reform in the USA)?  If so, care to share your thoughts?  In your opinion, what is the biggest issues schools face today? 

I have heard the term Common Core.  Without googling, I think it means to teach ALL children in the US the same basics...in terms of English, math, science.  It means that ALL children will have the same knowledge to start with as they continue on their education path.  Is it a good idea?  It sounds like it but I'm sure it's not an easy accomplishment - and if it means more testing and more paperwork for teachers it could be detrimental instead of being a positive in the classroom.

I have a daughter in grad school right now getting her Masters in Education in Literature degree.  She is observing in a school right now and will start student teaching in January.  I love her enthusiasm and hope she doesn't lose it, but I'm worried she will get hit with all the "extra" work that teachers have, and all the discipline issues, and lack of funds, etc.   Obviously every kind of job has to deal with "problems beyond their control" and there are parts of the work that are frustrating.  Teaching is no exception.  I hope she can keep her eye on the students.  I hope she can be one of those teachers that can help a child "click" and reach for more and enjoy the school environment.

Did I answer the question?  Probably not.  There are MANY tough issues in schools today.  I admire ALL those who go into the profession of teaching for the love of children and for the good of our country.   Here's to you!!

3. Name a celebrity whose fashion sense you admire and share why. 

I'll go with my first thought: Reese Witherspoon.   Every time I have seen her in People Magazine or on an award show, she is dressed like a normal person.  She looks beautiful when dressed up - and always classy.  She dresses down like most of us, in t-shirts & sweats.   She's a wife and mom.  She dresses "age appropriate."

4.  How are you affected by the changing seasons? 

This question makes me chuckle, because those who know me, KNOW I am greatly affected by the change of seasons!   I try, try, try to tell myself that ALL seasons are nice but I can't "live" it.  I dislike cold weather.  I cocoon inside and I just don't like it.  My brain gets grey when the sky gets grey - and the trees are empty of leaves.   I could go on and on about how I don't like to bundle up, I don't like cold weather clothes, or cold activities.   I'm a warm weather person - and hubby and I "half joke" about moving to Key West.  Note: I say "half joke" ... cuz we are half serious.

5.  Scariest book you have read. 

I do not like to read scary books.  So,  a tough question.  I suppose a book I thought was scary was a Danielle Steel book that I read probably five years ago or longer... what?  Yes, Danielle Steel!  I can't remember the title but it was about a parent getting that middle-of-the-night phone call about their teenager being in a horrible car accident...and how life changed just like that in that moment.  She wrote it in a way I really felt the anquish and as a mother of two daughters it stuck with me.   It "scared" me how life can change in a second!

6.  What time are you most hungry? What's your go-to snack? 

I find myself most hungry late afternoon - when I want to wait until dinner before eating.  My go-to snack to get me through from 4pm to 6pm is a hand full of nuts.

7.  Do you lean more towards being too needy or too independent?  Which do you find harder to deal with in others? 

I definitely lean towards being too independent.  No question about it.  My hubby calls it my German Lutheran heritage that makes me strong and self-sufficient.  It's also the fact that I worked and lived on my own before marrying, and then once I married, hubby traveled for his work so I continued to do things on my own.  It was "go and do" or miss out.  I never freaked about doing things alone.  I'm happy by myself.   So.... the second question:  I find it harder to deal with needy people.  Especially women!

Which brings me to one particular person who may know who she is when she reads this.  Over the last year I wanted her to be more independent - because I thought it would make her happier in the long run and she'd be more self-assured. I personally think it's a wonderful feeling to be in charge of yourself.  So, we had a bit of a falling out...not with words, in fact more with silence. I want her to know I wish her much happiness on her new life starting in a couple of weeks.  I love her - and want the best for her!!  

8.  My random thought.  

Is it just me or is Halloween getting creepier all the time?   I think back to when I was a kid dressing up to "trick or treat" and I never considered wearing a costume that was  bloody and goulish. I wanted to be a "pretty" gypsy or scarecrow...or whatever.   I know there is this whole trend of the "walking dead" and the TV shows are popular.  I just don't get it.  I still like Halloween to be about children putting on cute costumes.   Why dress up in horror?   What do you think?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

It's Hodgepodge time.

Well, I have to say that this week's Hodgepodge questions are toughies.  And, considering it's National Grouch Day (see question #2) I guess I'll complain about it a little bit.... ha!   Here goes:

1.  What was the biggest worry 5 years ago?  Is it still a worry?  

Thinking back I know our country was worried about the housing market, and how the banks had over-inflated values to get money back....and how they handed out mortgages to people who should not have qualified.   It's taken time to slowly get out of that mess.  I think finally in most areas the housing market is returning to where it should be.  I see improvement here where I live.

Unfortunately some worries from 5 years ago are still with us, like terrorism in the world, and crazy maniac leaders in other countries with no sense of human value.

2.  October 15th is National Grouch Day....what makes you grouchy?  What cheers you up when you're feeling grouchy? 

I try, try, try NOT to be a grouchy person.  Most days I succeed.  But, like everyone, I occasionally get up on the wrong side of the bed and feel a bit grouchy.   What cheers me up?   My morning coffee, hearing from my family and friends,  getting on Facebook and sharing jokes & stories, realizing that all blessings are given to me through grace!   How lucky I am!

3.  In one word, how does it feel to be photographed?

Non-threatening.  (I don't get all worked up like some people do.  I don't have to primp ahead of time.  It is what it is.)

4.  Besides your parents, who could you say had the greatest influence on you in choosing your life path?  Explain.  

Oh, a tough question.  I started my college career as an art major but partway through I knew it was not a viable way to make a reliable living.  So, I switched to Mass Communications and got my degree in it. An early influence: my brother because he worked at his university's radio station and I just thought that was pretty cool.  Ha!!  Once I switched majors I had many influences - I had some great professors at Towson State University.  My newswriting prof was David Lightman, and he has gone on to be a syndicated newspaper writer. I see his byline often.  I loved my broadcasting prof Dr. John McKerron.  He was also the adviser for the college station WCVT. Once I got an internship at WBAL Radio my influences were the wonderful people in that newsroom who showed me the ropes, and made it fun.  The News Director at the time Jeff Beauchamp gave me a chance.  My co-workers were wonderful!!  I loved working with Ken Manelis, in the morning. He is now deceased. RIP Ken.

5.  The crisp days of autumn are here... what's something you like to eat, but only if it's crisp? 

My first thought was an apple of course!  But, I do like apple pie too.  Baked apples are not crispy.   So, how about celery?   I don't eat it often but I like it crisp and crunchy.

6.  What's the most useless object you own? 

I have too many...  but the MOST useless?   Lately it's been my treadmill. lol!  It just sits there and doesn't get used.

7.  Share a favorite fall memory.  

My first two years of college were spent at a small Lutheran college in Columbus, Ohio. The school was situated next to a residential area called Bexley, where the homes were old and stately and the streets were lined with trees.  Often in the fall, after having dinner in the cafeteria, I would take a walk be myself through some of the streets of Bexley - for a bit of exercise, for some alone time, to de-stress, and to get fresh air before heading back to the dorm to study.  In Autumn the colors of the trees were gorgeous on that walk - and I particularly remember walking and kicking through the fallen leaves on the sidewalks.

8.  My random thought. 

I received an email from a friend a few days ago, who was trying to help another friend place a pug into a new home.  This pug was found a couple of weeks ago wandering a neighborhood.  Supposedly the owner was found - but doesn't want the dog. So, he just let it go outside.  Some people are very mean!!  I'm waiting now to hear if the pug is coming our way - to be a new "sister" to our pug Miss Honeybee.  My emotions are mixed about it.  Obviously, I want to help this pug - and I feel very sad for the life it has had so far.  But taking on another dog is a responsibility.  Two dogs are more work than one.   By next week's Hodgepodge, we will have the new pug, or not.  I'll let you know.

Have a good week!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Time marches on....

Today is the birthday of a dear friend who was very much a part of my 20's.   She's turning 60 today!   Happy birthday Karen!

I met Karen when I was living in an apartment in Cockeysville, Maryland and was working for 98 ROCK.  She was a part-time hostess at Sh'nanigan's, the "Cheers" style bar that sat in a shopping center in the middle of hundreds of apartments. It was a real hangout for the young people who lived around it.  

Karen also worked downtown at a place called Menu Man.  It was a printing company that specialized in menu layout and creation.   At that time she drove a cool silver Mustang - and she took that thing through the gears like she'd been born to do it.  I was impressed.

I don't remember how we first met, who said hello first, who suggested we get together.  But, quickly we became friends and she became my "go to" girl when I wanted to go do something around Baltimore - and vice versa. Often it involved my work - which at that time was as promotions manager for the rock radio station.  I had to go to quite a few night events and it was always good to have Karen to be with me.   Yes, we saw MANY concerts together!   And, we also got to know each other's families and friends...we went to family gatherings, parties, whatever came along together.  

Neither of us had a serious boyfriend when we first met so it was wonderful to have a dear girlfriend to be with as we traveled through our 20's.   

The long and short of it is, nothing can stay the same.  It was a "moment in time."   Our lives went different directions.  I moved away and got married - I was proud to have Karen be one of my bridesmaids.  We stayed in contact pretty well for the next ten years.  She came and visited me when I moved around the country early on in hubby's career... California, Georgia, and back to Maryland.   

But then we drifted apart.  I understand.  Like I said, it happens.   We are now down to sending  Christmas cards and seeing each other Facebook occasionally.  And wishing each other a happy birthday!   But, I want Karen to know - she holds a very special place in my heart!  We had some wonderful times together!  We had some bumps...and I know I was not always the most sensitive to her life.  I feel bad about that. I feel sad that I didn't stay in contact better right on through to today.  

I'm thinking of you today, on your 60th birthday!!   Wow!  Karen!!!  Time marches on... 
I certainly hope you have a lovely day today. I hope your health is good and that you are happy each day.   Love ya girl!   Happy birthday!!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Was it a gift and a sign from heaven?

I'm passing this along because to some who read it this is an amazing story of the intertwining of life now and life in heaven. For some, it's just a weird coincidence.  How do you feel about it?

About two weeks ago I was pulling weeds by my driveway in an area I often need to go and "clean up."  As hard as I try the weeds seem to pop back up and therefore every so often I take time to cut some of the bushes back and pull new weeds out of the mulch.

On this day as I was weeding I saw something shiny, and I picked it up.  It was a tiny little gold ring.  I took off my garden glove and put it on my pinkie and then kept on working.  I didn't think much about finding it at the time.

A day or two later I asked my next door neighbor if the ring I found belonged to her. It did not.  I showed her the ring and she found a number engraved inside so she googled it and found out the ring was 18 carat gold.  Wow!  What a nice find!

But, I didn't feel right keeping it if it belonged to someone else.  I asked my daughters if they had lost a little ring - and I think I showed it to them when we got together two weekends ago at a tailgating party.   Neither daughter said it was their ring, or knew who it might belong to.

I had one last thought.  For a short while my sister-in-law had lived with us so I considered that  perhaps she had lost the ring.  I also felt maybe when she was moving items from her car it fell out.  So, I saw her this past Friday night - and told her about how I found a ring in the mulch and I  showed it to her.

She immediately recognized it... as being a small ring that her mother (my mother-in-law) had owned. She had several like it.  My mother-in-law passed away 4 years ago!!  My sister and I looked at each other - and in that instant knew that my mother-in-law put that ring there for me to find.  I have heard about pennies on the ground... and other ways the deceased have sent a message...like a phone ringing - and nobody there (not even a telemarketer!)  My mother-in-law gave me this ring!

I wear the ring now - and I feel good knowing that it came from my beloved mother-in-law.  How it got to me, and how long it was in the mulch I will never know for sure.  But, I do think finding it was a way for her to connect to me.  

What do you think?   Do you believe?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The good and the bad.

Hi everybody!  It's Tuesday, and that means it's Hodgepodge question & answer time.  Are you with me??

1.  The USA will mark Columbus Day this year on Monday, October 14th. What's something you need or want to explore (literally or metaphorically speaking)? 

I skipped this question at first to think about it, and have now come back - still without a definitive answer.  I suppose I will continue to explore the waterways in this area. I love boating and nature around these parts.  I will continue to explore through books and my love of reading. I will continue to explore my faith.  I will continue to explore music...a true joy in my life.

2. The Wicked Witch of the West from "The Wizard of Oz", Ursala from "The Little Mermaid", or Maleficent from "Sleeping Beauty"... who do you most love to hate?

It has to be the Wicked Witch of the West - for a couple of reasons.  First, she was my childhood "baddie" and it was a big deal to stay up late and watch "The Wizard of Oz" as a kid.  But most important because she was REAL, not animated!  Oh, she was so mean,  so green...and very scary looking.  She didn't even like puppy dogs!  She frightened Dorothy to the core!   And, everyone cheered when she melted!

3.  Is open-mindedness a virtue? 

Absolutely!!!!    Being open-minded, loving, and responsible all at the same time is the way to  live!

4.  How often do you weigh yourself? 

Practically never.  I got weighed at the doctor's office a couple of months ago.  I don't need to weigh myself because I can tell if I have gained any weight just by how my clothes fit, or should I say how snug they get.  I am lucky to be a person who can stay within 5 pounds of my normal weight all the time.  I know if I have indulged one day to  back off the next.  I am also the type that does not like feeling "over-full" so I have learned when to push the plate away.

5.  Costa Rica was recently named the happiest country in the world on the "Happy Planet Index."  What's the happiest country in the world to you, and what makes it so?  

Interesting.  I'd like to know the criteria used for measuring the happiness of the people.   I suppose environment, jobs and security,  family life, and lack of stress.   Interesting that Costa Rica was chosen - because it isn't a powerhouse, and it isn't a rich country compared to others.  But, yet the people are happy!  So, I think that says that sometimes we confuse being strong as a country with being happy.  The US could learn something!  A country I consider happy?   I have visited the Scandinavian countries and think they have good things there that create happiness.  Good work ethic, good family life, no need to jump into wars. Beautiful countryside.    So, Norway and Sweden seem happy!

6.  Besides the Bible, what is one book you think should be mandatory reading for high school students?  Why? 

I think "The Book Thief"  by Markus Zusak should be mandatory reading.  I loved the story of the 2 children growing up/trying to survive during WW II with Hitler's troops bombing. The family interactions and the historical setting & events are wonderful - but best is the joy the two found in reading books to escape the horror of real life.   I suggest it be read by adults too!

7.  Have you started your holiday shopping yet? 

No.  And, it seems each year I wait longer...  because each year time seems to move along just too quickly.  I want to stay "in the moment" more.   Now, that being said, I also don't like feeling stressed and in a time crunch.  I hate shopping in busy, crazy shopping malls in December.  So, I will probably keep my eyes open now for some Christmas gift finds... and maybe I'll try and do a bit more on-line shopping this year.

8.  My random thought. 

I think many of us may mention our government shutdown in this week's random thought.  It's hard NOT to say something about it. It's hard not to express the disdain and sadness about our politicians who earn money while stopping progress instead of making compromises for the good of the people they are supposed to represent.   The TV news circus instigates division and feeds off it.  I sometimes think about how bad this country SEEMS to be right now, but then I wonder about those times in our US history when the forefathers were also fighting in the "hallowed halls" and  waiting til seconds before deadlines.  The games have always been around.  Yes, our media has changed and gotten worse. They are more intrusive and more opinionated.  My recommendation is READ a newspaper, watch TV News only for a hour a day. Don't get caught up in all the BS and all the speculation that is spewed.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Welcome to October!

Good day to all my fellow bloggers and Facebook friends.  Here are this week's questions with my answers.

1.  What's one thing you learned in September?  

Oh dear, here we go with the "one thing" question! ha!  It's hard to narrow down and answer with just one thing.  So, bear with me while I mention a few things.  I know I don't always learn something new every day, but I hope I keep learning along the way - it keeps life interesting!   I started off the month learning that people from Maine are very nice!! (Shout out to my daughter's boyfriends' family), and I learned that September here in the lowcountry can still feel like summer - thank goodness. I guess I knew that, but it's fun to experience summer here once all the "tour-ons" (tourist + morons) leave the beach.   I joined a women's prayer group and I started learning more about what prayer is, how to pray, and what God likes to hear from us.  I learned some new words I never knew existed playing "Words with Friends"... and I learned through a friend that divorce can be gut-wrenching. Guess I already knew that too, but it's hard to "experience" it up close and personal.

2.   Acorn squash, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, yellow, zucchini squash, or blech! hold the squash...   What's your favorite?  What's your favorite way to prepare squash?

I like all squash, but my favorite?  Well, last night I had some cooked on a grill and it was delicious!  My favorite is probably yellow zucchini.  I sometimes saute it in a frying pan with a little olive oil, sliced onions, and at the end throw in some sliced or diced fresh tomatoes.   Yum!

3. The older I get the ______.   The older I get the more I try to resort back to experiencing life as a kid!   True! Hubby and I were just talking about this the other day.   Once my parenting days ended (my daughters are lovely grown young ladies now) I discovered a could be "free-er"  to do things, time wise and with experiences.  Ok, don't get any weird ideas!  I am not some crazy, free-thinking, sexually open, etc. woman now!   I just am at a point in my life where I don't want to rush aging so I want to "think" young and do fun things while I can!  Life is short - and I want to experience it!

4.  What's your favorite television theme song ever? 

Question:  Why is it that theme songs from the 50s and 60s stick in my mind more?  I love "the Andy Griffith Show" theme song, and the song from "Gilligan's Island."  I also love the theme song from  "The Mary Tyler Moore Show."   From more recent shows?   The theme from "Friends."

5.  What do you wish you'd spent more time doing five years ago? 

No regrets...I'd change nothing.  I don't want to live that way.

6.  What item do you most need (or want) to add to your wardrobe this fall? 

First, I "need" nothing.  Second, I do not like when the weather cools and I have to put away my shorts and flip-flops. (I'm not there yet.)  I have never liked fall/winter clothing.  They are more "binding"...and is it just me, or sweaters are nice the first time or two you wear them, but after many wears they are no longer crisp, clean looking?  They get limp, ratty, snagged, etc.  Thankfully I live in an area where I do not need to wear boots, heavy winter coats, etc.   So, I suppose if I want to add something to my fall wardrobe it's a new pair of stretchy, comfortable jeans... and a new crisp sweater or two.

7.  On October 2, 1950 the Peanuts cartoon was introduced to the world.  What was your favorite cartoon when you were a kid? 

I don't think I was big on cartoons. I preferred "Romper Room" and real shows.  Anybody remember "Sky King"?   Since I have to pick a cartoon, I will say the Road Runner ones!  That poor coyote was always trying the catch the road runner with lots of TNT from ACME!  Beep beep!

8.  My random thought.  

I have a few rolling around in my head this morning.  Our Congress has once again showed how pompous they are and allowed the federal gov't to shut down. And,  I continue to be saddened and  amazed by the unnecessary shootings and deaths that happen every day due to the power of the gun lobby.  Again, pompous.     Thankfully, I have learned to "let go & let God" - and pray.   It's the best way to find peace and to stay positive during this crazy ride we experience as  life on earth!

Have a good week friends!