Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Heading into May Hodgepodge

You know the drill by now.  Joyce provides Hodgepodge questions, I answer my way.  I encourage you to respond too!

1.  This week's Hodgepodge is number 123. What's something you've done recently that was as easy as 1 - 2 - 3?  

I think I have to answer this with the baby layette basket program I started for the local hospital almost two years ago.  I was looking for something I could do to make a difference; something I could do that I would enjoy; something that wasn't about a lot of paperwork. I wanted something "hands on."   Once I decided to start a baby layette basket program for young & needy moms everything just fell into place, and it was as easy as 1 - 2 - 3!  I have not considered it a burden in anyway.  I continue to receive lots of donations, and I put together 4 to 5 baskets each week and deliver them to the hospital.  I don't see the look on the new mothers' faces when they receive one, but the nurses have told me that they are thrilled and these moms "need" the onesies, blankets, bath items, diapers, etc.  It's a joy when things fall in place so well! Easy as 1 - 2 -3!

2. This Hodgepodge also happens to fall at the beginning of May...what is something you may do this month? 

I have lots of things I plan to do, but I'm still waiting to see if I will make a trip to Ohio.  I may go there if needed.  My sister fell Sunday before last and broke her leg.  She lives alone and may need help.  Right now she is in re-hab so I will know more once she finishes that up.

3.  The Englishman Horace Walpole is credited as saying "The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think."  How do you see it? 

Sometimes it IS very hard to "feel" because there is so much pain in this world.  There are so many evil actions, and natural disasters.  It hurts to the core sometimes.  But, that being said, I really don't agree with Mr. Walpole because I think the world also has amazing, beautiful people and things to enjoy...and without the emotions and feelings they would be lost.   Oh - yes, sometimes this world is a comedy too.  Funny things happen.  But thankfully we can feel that too - and laugh!

4.  May is National Hamburger month...how often do you eat a burger?  What are your must-haves when it comes to burgers? 

Hamburgers are very seasonal for me.  I rarely eat them in the cold weather months.  But, once we light up the grill and have summertime get-togethers then burgers become part of my diet!   So, in cold months I rarely eat a hamburger.  In warm weather months I probably eat one a week.  I like mayo, and a slice of tomato on it...maybe some ketchup & mustard.

5.   Pansies, petunias, geraniums, impatiens... of the four mentioned, which is your favorite in a patio pot?  Will there be pots on your patio this spring?   Who does the gardening at your house? 

Okay, I'll make you jealous:  I ALREADY have flower pots on my patio (and deck).  Spring comes early here...thankfully.  I have geraniums in a couple of pots that sit where the sun hits.  I have impatiens (and other shade-loving flowers) in pots that don't get direct sun.   They are two of my favorite flowers.  I will plant pansies...but petunias get too long stem-y and stringy for me over time.  I am the gardener and I LOVE it!!!

6.  When did you last (literally or figuratively) shout "Mayday, mayday!" ?

I think Joyce means as a way of announcing you are giving up. Right?  I can't think of a time of shouting it, or thinking it...  literally or figuratively.  But over the years I suppose I have had moments where I have thrown my hands up in the air and said I can't do anything about a situation (or person) and just give up.

7. Say farewell to April in ten words or less.

Unseasonable, but still beautiful with Springtime flowers and longer days.

8.  My random thought.

As most know, I am a country music lover - and therefore, this time of year gets me VERY excited about some events coming soon.  This Friday I am going with my daughter to see Tim McGraw in concert (again...he's one I never get tired of seeing over and over.)  We are doing a "first" though!  As a member of the fan club (I joined because you get unique opportunities) I bought the VIP package - and that includes going backstage prior to the concert, and attending a pre-concert cocktail party. Tim and a couple of his band members will come out and do a short acoustic set - so we will be "up-close and personal"!   We get food, drink, some special merchandise too.   To say I'm excited is an understatement!   (April:  jealous?)

The other BIG event coming up is the CMA Music Festival in Nashville in early June.  I'm taking my other daughter and her boyfriend.  It's my third time attending but their first time so I am really excited to share the four days of non-stop music and fun with them!   (Katie: you going this year?)   I highly recommend this event if you are a country music fan.  Check it out on Facebook - or google it.

Have a GREAT first week of May everyone!!

The letter Y

I'm a day behind on my A to Z Challenge.  It is supposed to finish up today, the last day of April.  But, tomorrow I'll finish up with the letter Z.  (It's a tough letter so I better start thinking about it already.)

But, now, on with the letter Y.    My word is young.   I can remember like it was yesterday: oh, being young!   I mean it SEEMS like just yesterday.  I was just a kid starting out on my life, finishing college, joining the adult world, working, and having my own apartment.   I was young and a bit foolish, and excited, and unsure of my future.  That's what is so great about being young - all of life awaits you and it is still a lovely mystery.

When I was young I had some expectations about how I wanted my life to go.  They weren't detailed, but I wanted to have a family and be happy.  I wanted to be involved with music, and I wanted to make a difference in the world.  I remember thinking as a young person that after I died I wanted to be remembered  - in a good way.  I didn't want my time on earth to be forgotten.

Somewhere along my life path I stopped being young.  Age wise.  Consumer wise.  I moved into a different demographic.  I'm not sure when it happened...  was it when I first had children?  I wasn't the youngest mom in my group but I wasn't old...yet.   Maybe I stopped being young when I had to attend business events, and go on work trips with my husband.  I remember those days, getting dressed up to "look" older to try and fit in with the business associates and their wives.  I never really liked it.  It was stuffy, had expectations, felt phony a lot.

Did I stop being young when my daughters finished school and went off to live on their own?   Well, hum, first I'm in denial about that and still keep their bedrooms here at home.   But, no, if anything I felt more young inside because the burden of raising my daughters was done.  Mission accomplished - and well done if I say so myself!   I loved those school years with them but was also happy that we made it through, and then moved to a warmer climate - with more activities for me.   I finally took the opportunity to pursue more of "my" interests...music, gardening, new volunteering efforts.

So... when did I stop being young? 

What do you know! I don't think I have!  In my mind and heart I still feel young, and active, and I am very interested in all that happens around me.  Oh yes, the body has aged.  There's no denying it.  As I sit here and type my lower back is aching, and I have my regular appointment this week for my hair to be put back to it's "natural" color.  But me, the inside me, is still  very much young at heart! And...guess what?  I intend to stay young!

Monday, April 29, 2013

The letter X

"X marks the spot."

I think we all have heard that expression.   I think back to childhood days and watching cartoons with characters looking for hidden treasures.  The map they used would always show a big bold X on it to show where the treasure was to be found.  

So today my X blog is about maps... and the fact that they are becoming obsolete.  (I know it's a stretch on the X letter. It's a tough letter. I don't think I will write about xylaphones.)  

Until the invention of the GPS, maps were essential for everyone.   Whether you were on a road or interstate, or walking around a new city, or even visiting an amusement park... we all had maps.   Rand-McNally was the king of maps back then.  I wonder how they are doing now.   Before any vacation our family would buy maps to get us there, and we would plan the trip ahead of time with it.  We studied them for the quickest route or for a way to detour a big city.  

Until about 5 years ago I still relied on them.  But, as it often happens, my daughter (a part of the younger generation) asked for a Garmin GPS for Christmas.  Santa obliged - and I discovered how wonderful they were!!   Very easy to program - and that nice lady talked my daughter through the way, giving ample warning of a turn ahead, and telling her to the minute when she would arrive at her destination!

So, I bought one. I plugged it into my car for every long trip I made.  It gave me choices:  Only interstates?  Fastest route? Alternate ways?  Gas stations & fast food?   Thankfully I didn't need it for trips around town!  Then I got an Iphone - and downloaded a GPS app right on to it.  

I still carry a couple of old-time maps in my car.  I haven't been able to go completely paper-free.  What if the GPS failed?  And, to tell you the truth., I still like the idea of unfolding one, and looking at the "whole picture" - and putting my X on my destination.  

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The letter V

I just looked at my A to Z Challenge blog posts and realized I forgot the letter V!  I went right from U to W. Oops!  So, here is my word for the letter V:   violin.

I grew up learning music. I took piano lessons and played the flute all through school.  But, I never got the opportunity to learn about string instruments until my younger daughter decided in 2nd grade that she wanted to learn to play the violin.  

I was happy she was interested in any instrument - so off we went to rent a violin, and I researched the best person in our area to give her lessons.   That pursuit turned out to be a very important part of all our lives for many years.  My daughter started taking suzuki lessons from Mrs. T, a retired teacher and violinist, who with her husband (a high school band director) had started the Sussex County Youth Orchestra.  Our school system had two strings programs in it - which was rare and truly awesome.  So, children in the county were learning strings. The county orchestra gave those children another opportunity to play and to develop their skills to a higher level.

To make a long story short, my daughter was in the orchestra all the way through high school.  My other daughter got involved too, and I was a volunteer mom for many activities.  We had some amazing experiences as part of this group.   The orchestra got to play at Carnegie Hall - a real thrill!  And, we went to Europe twice as "NJ Ambassadors of Music" and the orchestra performed in old churches and lovely park settings - in France, Austria, Germany, and Switzerland.  We met wonderful people, did some great sight-seeing, and shared the gift of music.   Those years were wonderful!

My daughter and a few friends from the orchestra even used their talent and played together as a small strings combo at wedding receptions, cocktail parties, etc.  Their name was were "In Rare Form"...  and they were!

Back to the V word:  I remember sitting in the room outside where my daughter took her lessons and listening...  and the sound of the violin was so, so beautiful!  Granted in the very beginning I heard some screeching and "Twinkle Twinkle" many times over and over.  But, sometimes I sat in the waiting area in awe of the music coming out of the next room.  As the years went by, my daughter and her teacher played duets together.  It was lovely!!

A violin is such an expressive instrument.  It "sings".  It is an intricate part of classical music, but is played in every genre of music.  These days I listen to a lot of country music, and again it's there:  as a fiddle!  It's very important to country music!!

So, I thank my daughter for choosing the violin.  She brought a love of the instrument to me too.

Friday, April 26, 2013

The letter W in the "A to Z challenge"

My word for the letter W is weather.

Just yesterday I checked our local forecast and it said there was a small chance of rain in the morning and then turning sunny in the afternoon with highs in the low 70's.  I had a 12:30pm tee time with my lady friends so I thought it would be a perfect day to be out there on the links.   It started out that way.  But, after 9 holes the skies got grey and we heard some thunder.  We turned our golf carts around and got back to the parking lot just as the torrential rains started to come down.   It rained...then the sun came out, and then it stormed again about an hour later.

It's one example of how we still try to plan our day totally on what forecasters say, but it's just too unpredictable, especially living in this area, by the ocean.  

Weather.  There's certainly nothing we can do about it.  But, I know that I am one of those people who's mood and well-being is effected by the weather each day.  I have that disorder (I know it has a medical name) where I need sunshine, and I need to be outdoors.  I am not a happy person in cold temperatures, stuck indoors, and I hate snow.  Yes, I HATE snow.  I don't find it pretty. Sorry.

I have lived in areas where cold and snowy days made for a very long winter.  It was emotionally challenging to me.  I dreaded shoveling, and bundling up to go anywhere, and I feared driving and other drivers on the road.  I have the type of body that feels the cold "to the bone" and when I'm that cold I just don't even want to move.  

So, after years of cold winters I finally live in a place with mild winter months.  Here, we still can dip into the 30's at night but most days reach into the 50's.  And, we have been known to have warm spells even in January.  Days that give a reprieve, to help make it feel like springtime is around the corner.

Now Mother Nature can still do some scary things here.  Our biggest concern is a hurricane coming this way.  A few have come through and caused serious damage. But, every region has some form of weather that makes us realize how powerful it can be.  Right?   We can't escape bad weather completely.  I guess there are a few areas that seem pretty safe.  San Diego is one.  Where else?

Today's weather:  The local paper this morning says a cool morning, plenty of sunshine with a mild afternoon. High 72.  Sounds delightful!  

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The letter U - in the A to Z Challenge

Yesterday I wrote how I have not been able to be as creative during this challenge as I had originally hoped.   So, today I find myself with the letter U!!  Oh my.  It's a toughie.   I have written some U words on a piece of paper to help me think of what to write about...undercover, underwear, upwards, understanding, up to date, and utmost.


I think I will write today about being up to date.  

This world is spinning pretty fast, and changes occur daily.  It's really hard to try and stay "up to date" with the technology out there.   The advances amaze me at times!  

I'm reminded of this because a few months ago I cleaned out a spare closet and much of it was filled with old VHS movies.  Many of them were childrens' videos.  We owned most of the Disney collection, and had lots of Sesame Street movies, and G-rated films for our daughters when they were little.  My hubby loved to buy VHS - because it was the first time anyone could buy a movie and watch it at any time, and as many times as we wanted.  He bought a bunch of "action movies" too  - his favorite.

So, I boxed up all the tapes to make room in the closet, and I figured I would bite the bullet and donate them to my church's garage sale, for charity.  It was hard to do because I had memories attached to many of the children's movies.  I remember how my younger daughter loved the Disney version of "Cinderella" and watched it over and over...her eyes glued to the TV with her favorite stuffed toy in her hand.   I remember both girls enjoying VHS videos while I tried to get household work done.  I knew if I put one on, the girls would be happy, watching for a good 50 minutes or so.  Enough time to get something done!

Anyway, I took the VHS videos in to the garage sale.  And, most of them went UNbought, even at just $1 each.   Nobody has a VCR player anymore!  Nobody buys VHS movies anymore!   So, at the end of the day, they were boxed up again - and taken to the Salvation Army and one only knows what they decided to do with them all.

Yes, it's hard to stay "up to date" anymore.  So many upgrades with smart-phones, and new apps.  Cars have new gadgets too.  Cameras to view behind the back before going in reverse. My car has that feature now, and it still confuses me as to wear to look. I'm so used to putting my arm over the passenger seat and turning my head and looking behind me as I back up.  I glance at the camera's picture but I don't rely on it to tell me it's safe to move.   I have Blue Tooth in my car now too.  I often end up disconnecting people when they call because I hit the wrong button!

I know as I age, my "learning ability" gets tougher.  My brain doesn't pick up on new concepts as fast as it used to do, and I find myself questioning WHY we have all these changes.  I sometimes can't imagine our world in another 50 years.  Will we just sit and say everything we want...and a computer goes and gets it, or does it for us?

Now, please understand MANY of the changes have been wonderful!  I am glad I have been alive for "up to date" medical procedures that I might one day need, and I'm glad safety features have been upgraded.   I love my Facebook and I tweet.  I blog!  I intend to try my darndest to keep "up to date" with this ever-changing world we live in, and to thank God for the positive progress made.  

Sometimes, it's just hard to do.   Sometimes a "simpler life" seems less stressful (even though I know history shows it really wasn't.)    One thing I do know -  is  all the new technology has made it easier to "be up to date" with family and friends....  and that is a very good thing!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

T is for time

For my Hodgepodge readers, today's quuestions & answers are right below this new A to Z Challenge blog.

Today's A to Z Challenge letter is the letter T so I must go with the word time.  When I started this challenge at the beginning of April I thought it would be a great way for me to "make time" each day to blog, and to have a purpose to blog.  Some days this has been true...but most days I am finding little time to blog in the way I would like.  I want to be creative, to be funny at times - to be challenged each day.   I don't think it's happened.

why?  time!! 

Now, I am not a person working away from home full-time, or commuting long hours, or anything like that which would take me away from the computer.  So, I have the availability of my keyboard. In fact it sits on my kitchen table all the time.  It's part of my morning routine - coffee, newspaper, computer!  And,  I jump on and off the computer all day long, checking emails and Facebook.  

So, I have to think that time has been the culprit.  I think I now understand why writers need to lock themselves up in an attic office or go somewhere to devote a scheduled amount of time to the task.  No interruptions, no excuses.

Here's the thing about me and time. When I do something, I do it "in a timely manner" BUT I do not rush through anything, nor do I like the feeling of being under pressure to make a time commitment.  People who know me know I never wait til the last minute, nor do I arrive anywhere late if I can at all help it.  "Arriving early IS arriving on time!"  That's my motto.  No extra stress please!

I do not like going with a change in my routine either... when someone invites me to be spontaneous it's a challenge for me.  It might even be for something I really want to do and know I will enjoy!!   It doesn't matter.   I like patterns, and set times, and I need "time" to adjust.

You all probably thing I'm crazy about now.   But, it's a thing (problem??) I have.  I live by a clock.   But for me it's soothing - and predictable and allows me to pace myself.  So, sometimes I may not do as much as other people in a day - but I'm okay with it.   I have always loved the line from a Jackson Browne song that says "wasting time is not WASTED time."    I need time to read, to relax, to "be"....  and I need to plan what I do in my other times.  

We all have a limited amount of time on earth...but thankfully, we don't know how long it is.  I try and enjoy it, before I lose it!  

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Hodgepodge Questions and my answers.

Happy Hodgepodge day to you all!  Below are the questions, and my answers.  Feel free to play along and respond too! 

1. April showers bring May flowers...what have you been showered with this month?

A tough question right off the "git go"...  so let me think.   I have had a wonderful April so I guess I would say I have been showered with happiness.  I know it sounds lame, but it's true.  April is an uplifting month anyway, with the feeling of springtime in the air.  That makes me happy. We have had a mix of chilly and warm days.  Some sunny days and some rain.  It's been a mix perfect for the earth to come back to life.  I have also been showered with my continual love from family and friends.  It's been a GOOD month of happiness!

2. What is the nature of compassion?  Is it learned or innate?  Can compassion be learned?  If you are a parent is this something you've purposely sought to instill in your children, and if so how?

The nature of compassion is having caring and loving feelings for your fellowman. It's wanting people you know AND those you don't, to have a good life, free of pain and hardship.  I know Joyce asks this question in the week following the bombing in Boston and the explosion in Texas because we saw so much compassion..  So many, many people were caring to those who were hurt and to families that lost loved ones.  Yes, I think compassion can be learned.  Babies are born pretty selfish, and it comes with time, teaching, and living with others to realize that we all want the same joys in life:  love, family, respect, freedom.  I have certainly instilled in my daughters the nature of compassion. How?  Mostly by talking with them as they grew up about helping people, about being unbiased, and about knowing that God has put us here on earth to love and take care of each other.  I made sure my daughters  went to church.  Both were in Girl Scouts.   I tried to involve them in outreach programs... food drives, etc.  One daughter went with me to Guatemala with Habitat for Humanity. 

3.  Do you prefer to watch a romantic comedy or romantic drama...or are you rolling your eyes saying bring on the action flick?

Of those three choices, definitely my first movie choice is a romantic comedy.  Sometimes the romantic dramas are a bit too cheesy for me.  Saying that, I do have a few old-time favorites though..."Wuthering Heights" is my all time favorite romantic drama!   I love Catherine and Heathcliff!   I am not an action flick girl at all.  If I see one it's because it's my hubby's turn to pick a movie. I get so tired of watching things blow up, or car chases and crashes.  I'm not big on special effects.

4.  It's April which means baseball season is officially upon on here in the US of A.  Humphrey Bogart is quoted as saying "a hot dog at the ballgame beats roast beef at the Ritz."  Agree or disagree? 

I guess my answer depends if Humphrey was talking about cuisine or atmosphere.  In terms of cuisine: NO!  I'm not a fan of baseball food.  I can't remember the last time I had a hot dog.  Buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks...  that would be okay.   If Mr. Bogart was talking atmosphere, then I prefer a beautiful afternoon sitting out at a baseball game over being in a fancy-smancy restaurant.

5. What's something in your community or city that needs fixing or improving?

I love much about where I live...and I am blessed to be here.  The state I live in does need better education. I know the teachers and administrations are wonderful and work hard and love the children.  But the state does not put enough emphasis and dollars into the education system. I'm sure the teachers are very frustrated at times.   Our state does not compete with other states when it comes to scores (and I know it's not all about that).   The other concern is a better hurricane route!  Thankfully I haven't had to test it out in the 7 years I have lived here.  But there is only 2 ways out of my community because we are "water-bound" with the ocean on one side & a river on the other.  I worry about evacuating everyone in an emergency.  Because of it, I intend to leave EARLY if a hurricane is headed this way!

6.  Share a song you enjoy that mentions flowers or a specific flower in it's title.

Ok...here's an oldie.  But, it's the first song I learned all the words to as a kid.   "Why do you build me up BUTTERCUP?  Just to let me down...and mess me around."  I could go on...  I was so proud of myself for knowing ALL the words! ha

7.  April 22nd was Earth Day...do you believe there's life on other planets?

I believe that there could be other life out there....but, I haven't really seen anything that makes me think there is.  But it's a HUGE universe - and I don't question God's ability to create other life in other places.  Who knows, maybe He got disappointed with us at some point and decided to try something else!  ha! 

8. My random thought.

It's been a crazy week and I know I got caught up watching the news a lot more than usual, almost hourly checking in while Boston was shut down and the manhunt was on for the brothers.  I was mad at myself for watching those bumbling reporters...trying to fill time and then break the first tiny new bit of evidence before the other news outlets.  What do you think?  Should we go back to the TV days when it wasn't 24 - 7 in your face, "live" and "breaking news"???  

Monday, April 22, 2013

The letter S

After the 24 hours I have just had, I HAVE to say the letter S is for my sister!  Her name is Sue.

I found out last evening that my sister took a bad fall yesterday and broke her femur bone (the large bone that goes from the knee to the hip.)  She's my only sister, and she lives in another state - and it's about an 11 hour drive away. 

Now, thankfully, her daughter was able to go be with her, and she has some great girlfriends that are willing to help out.  But, it's the first time that I can EVER recall where my sister has had to deal with a physical problem that is major like this, one that that will keep her from work and from driving, etc.

Sue has always been pretty independent....well, she's had to be since her husband died back in '04.  She has had to work full-time,  pay her own way, find her own path with her love of music, and has been able to do what she wants when she wants.  So, even though it's probably too early for her to even know today because she's still drugged up after surgery, this is going to be a challenging time of healing ahead. 

I'm grateful that it wasn't worse.  I'm thankful that the doctors were able to put a plate and a bunch of screws in her leg today, and that even though she hit her head an MRI performed last night showed no concerns.  ( I hope to razzle her about it tho! Knocked some smarts out?)

We two sisters are five years apart in age. Yes, I was the bratty, annoying little sister!! ( I love to rub it in to her that I'm younger! ha!)   We were just far enough apart in age growing up that I was in a different school, and I was too young to do the cool things she was doing.  But, I was also the lucky one because she had to "break" Mom and Dad in...being the firstborn and a girl.  She fought the battles about clothes & hair styles, and dating.  So, I thank her for that!   She left home first and again, I got to watch her and see what life was like out there. 

Since that time when Sue left home -  to go off to college -  she and I have never lived together since.  In fact, we have lived many, many miles away from each other as I have moved all around the country.  But time, and children, and shared family experiences, have kept us in touch.  We have made it a point to be together at least twice a year. Usually.  But, now...  It seems we will be spending some time together VERY very soon.  I think when she gets released from the hospital "Miss Independence" will need some help as she mends.   Isn't that what sisters do?  

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The letter R

It's been a crazy week in our country, as we all have felt the pain of those suffering in Boston and in Texas.  We have been glued to the TV watching the aftermath of the bombings and the fertilizer plant explosion.  We paused and watched on Thursday a beautiful ecumenical service from the Boston Cathedral. 

So, when I got to thinking about my R word today... these came to mind:  remembrance, religion, random acts, reason, and roses.

But, I think it's time to change topic and move on...just to take a break from the heaviness in our hearts.  So, today my R word is radio.

I have a history in radio.  I worked for a short while at my college radio station and graduated with a Mass Communications major, and then immediately went to work in "real radio" in Baltimore, first at WBAL, and then it's FM counterpart 98 ROCK.   It was a fun time! I was young and I was there in the "hey day" of  the AOR (album oriented rock) format. 

So many things have changed in radio since that time.  There have been technology advances for sure. Gone is vinyl, gone are album covers (and I still miss them). We used to run commercials off of cassette decks. The radio boards had knobs on them!  "Pots" to turn on and off, turn up volume, etc.  There were no computers.  "Live copy" (what the announcer read) was in a notebook!  I don't know if I would recognize a radio studio these days.

Gone also are the listener loyalities.  With so many choices out there now, there is not a fan base like there used to be.   Satellite stations, networks, and Ipods, and more...  all take away the radio as the only source for music. 

At first I used to fight the changes.  I felt bad for my friends still in the radio biz and worried they would lose their jobs.   But, change happens...and it's best to embrace it.   Radio has survived so far.   Listenership numbers are nothing like they used to be.  But, there is still a need for local PSA's, commercials, weather updates, traffic, etc.    So, it's still around.

I'm wondering...

Do you listen to the radio in your car?   Perhaps you do.  But, do you listen still at home?   Doubtful. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

The letter Q

Morning all... 

Today's letter is Q and it's a crazy morning as we all are glued to TV watching the Boston area police looking for the Boston Marathon bomber.  

So, today's Q word has got to be Quick.  Let's find the brother-at-large, and end this situation quickly. I know all police are out in force and residents are hiding in their homes.  I hope law enforcement finds him quickly and ends this horrible week.  

Did anyone see the ecumenical service at the Boston Cathedral yesterday? I was able to watch about an hour of it and I thought it was absolutely lovely, and inspiring!  All the clergy spoke eloquently and gave hope.  The music was outstanding.  

Even amid the horror of this week people rise above, and love does conquers all.

I pray it all ends QUICKLY, safely, and justice is done.  Amen

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The letter P

In light of everything going on in the nation the last couple of days, I think today's P word should be positive, as in "staying positive" in times of trouble.

Sometimes events that happen can really make us sad, and disappointed, and just questioning what is going on in the world.   First, the Boston Marathon bombings, then the Waco, Texas fertilizer blast and inferno, and last (but certainly not least) the failure of our US Senate to pass a law on better gun owner background checks.

It's a scary world out there.  Some things happen without any notice, and innocent people are hurt and killed.   It's hard to understand why, and it's hard to get into the minds of those who think so very differently.

But, it's important to stay positive! We must turn tragedy into a way to express love and to open our hearts for those who suffer.   How?   First PRAY (another great P word), and then we must not sit idly by.  God said to be compassionate and to help the poor and the suffering. 

So, give to the Red Cross for the Texas families displaced.  Donate to causes that will help those with medical needs.   Write, email, or call your senator and let them know they are not doing what you want them to do.  It's actually quite easy  now that we have internet sites and email addresses. 

Be positive!  Don't just complain but then do nothing.   Take action.  if you want to help or see a change then you got to do something! 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Hodgepodge is here!

Happy mid-April everyone!  It's a beautiful time of the year, although I would be remiss without mentioning the beauty of this season is contrasted with the horrible scenes and the lives forever changed in Boston yesterday.   We certainly live in a world of opposites. May God's promise of eternal life and forgiveness help everyone today dealing with the tragedy at the marathon. 

On to the Hodgepodge...

1.  April 15th is the deadline for Americans to file their state and federal income tax returns. What's a job you do on a regular basis that could be described as 'taxing'?

I am at a point in my life where I don't do something I consider taxing...partly because I am blessed with where I am and who I am with, but also because I have learned to say "no" to things I don't have a desire to do. It took me a long time to master "no", but I'm there now...and it's wonderful! 

2.  I'm participating in the April a -Z Blog challenge, and the Hodgepodge happens to fall on Day O this week.  In keeping with that theme...olives, onions, oysters, okra...of the foods mentioned, what's your favorite O food?

I love green and black olives.  I love onions...raw and cooked.  I eat okra, but usually when it's prepared in a dish with other food.  But, I am not in any way possible a fan of oysters! I don't like to look at them (so grey and slimy) and I don't like to see people 'slurping' them down.

3.  What is something memorable you experienced as a child that your own children will not get to experience?

Well, there are a lot of things I experienced as a child that have been updated or have become obsolete due to new technology.   Typewriters, rotary phones, wind-up car windows, etc.   I'm not sure they are memorable to me...  so that makes this question tougher to answer.  Remember Jiffy Pop popcorn?  In the aluminum foiled pan that you put on the stove top and shook??   I suppose that was something intriguing as a kid, and a real treat.  Again, it became obsolete with the invention of microwaves and microwavable packages.   I even remember my mother having a special "popcorn pot".  It had a lid to twirl because it had a wire attached to it to keep the kernels moving.   Anybody still have one those? 

4.  Term limits for our elected officials...your thoughts?

I believe in term limits.  I think it would be helpful to have elected officials that knew they only had a certain amount of time to serve, to make a difference, and to make changes...before then re-entering the "real" work world again.   Perhaps they would not be as likely to drag things out.  Perhaps they would know what it is like to have to change jobs and to keep fresh.  It might also take away the whole pompous power attitude that many get.    Maybe...    we can hope....      it's worth a try.

5.   On April 18th, 1775 Paul Revere made his famous 'midnight ride'...  when did you last make a midnight ride?

Oh my.  I am not a last night person - AT ALL.  So, I have not gone out at midnight for a long, long time - if ever.  Even in my single days in my 20's I was not the type of person to go hit the bars late or to go to a midnight movie showing.    I think my answer to this question has to be 'never.'

6.  What would freak you out more... a mouse running across the floor or a big hairy spider?

Is the hairy spider running across the floor too?  If so, then the spider would freak me out more.  I am not normally afraid of spiders - because they are pretty easy to smash.  A mouse is very quick...and he leaves droppings in unusual places.  Yuck. It doesn't freak me out though because I have had good luck with mouse traps.  ( :     So, I don't like to see either in my house but I am not too afraid to "deal with them".

7.  I love it when people ask me __________ .   About my daughters!  I'm very proud of them!  Just ask me!

8.  My random thought. 

On a light note:  "The Voice", "Dancing with the Stars" and "American Idol" are all on TV right now.  Do you have a favorite show?  Favorite judge?  Favorite contestant?     I still am very true to watching "Idol" and am amazed how so many that make the top ten go on to have musical careers.   I also just love to sit and watch both the lovely dancing & the humor on "DWTS".   My favorite there has got to be Kellie Pickler and Derek.  I love them both!

Have a peaceful week.

The letter O

The letter O is for Opry...as in Grand Old Opry.  You all didn't think I could do the whole A to Z Challenge without saying something about country music, now did you?

Of course not! 

I have been to Nashville twice and am going again in less than 2 months.  It will be my third time attending the 4 day CMA Music Festival. It's such a awesome experience!! For those who have never been to downtown Nashville, the Ryman Auditorium is right in the middle of the honkytonk bar area, just a block off Broadway.  It is the original home to the Grand Old Opry, which started out as a live radio show/concert for country music.  It was where true country music was broadcast from, and that radio show became one of the first "syndicated" programs on radio - and it was THE show/concert to listen to each week if you were a country music fan.  It aired throughout the south.

Many country music singers and musicians played at the honkytonks just around the corner on Broadway - and when they were invited to perform up on the Ryman Auditorium stage for the Opry show they knew they had "arrived" and it was going to make them into a star! 

Few places have the history of the Opry.  Perhaps the Lincoln Center for opera, and Carnegie Hall for classical music can be put into the same category. 

The Ryman Auditorium was built as a church - with pews and beautiful stained glass windows.  When it became the home of the Opry it retained the church aspects and it felt like the singers were "back home" performing at their own churches.  So many of them got their start singing in home church choirs!  

A few years back the Grand Old Opry organization built a new, bigger theatre out on the edge of Nashville.  It's beautiful, has more parking, etc.  Even a huge Opryland hotel was build next door. But,  a round piece of the old Ryman Auditorium wooden stage floor was carefully removed and put down on the new stage and it was placed right where the singers stand to perform.  

Both the Ryman and the new Grand Old Opry continue to have concerts in them.  The radio show comes out of the new Opry house each week now.  But, instead of closing down the original home it remains open, is still alive with music, maintained, and a showcase to the past.  

If you are planning a trip to Nashville, and you love country music, the Grand Old Opry is a must!  Visit both the Ryman and the new Grand Old Opry house.  Take the tours - see behind the scenes, see the members' names on the wall, and their mailboxes (each inductee has one), walk on the stage!  It's a pretty cool experience!

Monday, April 15, 2013

The letter N

The words starting with the letter N that have first popped into my head are Neighbors, Nature, and News.

I will pick Nature to talk about today.  It's fitting since it's springtime and nature is waking up and showing itself off with so much color right now.  I love all the flowers of nature! The wisteria and azaleas are in full bloom. Yards are bright with pink, rose, and white.  The birds, the animals, and yes, even the reptiles, are becoming more alert and active too.  

I live in an area filled with amazing nature. I wake up every morning to birds singing, and I see egrets in trees, and herons posing by the ponds, and the sandpipers frolicking at the beach!   The osprey are preparing their old nests again along the rivers.  The alligators are waking from their winter's rest and are sunning themselves along the muddy banks.   And, even the snakes are moving.  We have seen 2 babies lately.  And you know, if babies are around, then Mama must be near by.

Soon the fish will start jumping again - and the dolphins will be spotted making their way in the ocean.  Fiddler crabs pop in and out of holes waiting for something good to grab with their big claw, then eat.  

Nature is amazing to see!  I know I could not live in a city and miss experiencing it.  I find peace and beauty looking over the marshes, and boating down the rivers. 

As I have aged I have learned to "stop and smell the roses" and enjoy what is all around me.   I hope you do too.   Nature is a beautiful thing! 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The letter M

The letter M has got to be for marriage.  Yes, so much has been written about it but in many ways it's still such a mystery! 

I am blessed to be in a wonderful, successful marriage.   I still wonder after 28 years (and still going strong) how I got so lucky, or why it is hubby and I survived when so many don't.    Below is a list of some reasons I think were in our favor:

* We didn't marry young.  We were in our late 20's and had already lived on our own, done our sharing of dating,  We both worked, paid bills, lived as "grown-ups" apart first.

* We were tired of being single (and the single world at that time) and were ready to share our lives together and to start a family.

* We had a nice mix of similar interests AND different ones.  So, we had things to do together that we enjoyed very much, but we still had things to do and good times apart.  We still do. 

* We truly love and TRUST each other.  I don't think any marriage can survive without trust in the other person.  We did not hide things or issues from each other.  We both have said we can't keep secrets from each other.

* We never fought over finances.  Oh, yes, we have had a few issues on how to spend money...what might be frivolous or what might be unimportant.  But, in reality, over the years I think I can count those moments on one hand.

* We have always had a core religious belief.  We believe in God, and his son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.  We did not have differences when it came to how to raise our daughters.  We were not split on church preference or religious education for them.

* We introduced new interests to each other.   He showed me the importance and fun (yes, fun) of exercise and adventure.  I have shared with him my love of music and the arts.

* We have equal, unending love for our daughters and want the best for them.  We have never used them as pawns in our lives together.

* We share a similar vision for our future together. 

*  We still enjoy being each other's friend and hanging out together.

So, even with ALL this going for us, sometimes marriage is still challenging.  Sometimes I still don't know how we made it work...   except to say the years have never been boring.  They have never been without anticipation of more good times ahead.   

I don't really believe that God puts people together.  But, I don't think I could have found a better marriage partner.  So, I like to think God was there all along. 

I know other couples who have been happily married much longer than we have and I admire them.  They are my role models. They still laugh together.  They have so many memories together.  I also, unfortunately, know couples where marriage is a struggle, and a few couples where marriage together should just end. 

So, I guess for the letter M for Marriage...the word Mystery goes along with it.   Again, I feel blessed to have my marriage partner and our life together.  I pray for those who want a good marriage but don't have it.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Letter L

Today's letter is L and this is a much easier letter for me to think of a word (or two) for...

it's labor of Love!

I just got back from our church women's annual garage sale.  We worked hard for 2 days preparing for it. We all donated, many unpacked and sorted, and others priced.  This morning the doors opened at 8:00am exactly to a line of people waiting to find a treasure or two.   For all the volunteers from church it was a labor of love.  All of the money raised from the garage sale will go directly to charities.  We have picked our local chapter of Habitat for Humanity, our local Backpack Buddies program, and the St. Peter's women quilters. 

I put pictures up on Facebook of the room filled to the brim with items.  And, this morning I took a picture of the room filled with shoppers.

I don't have the dollar amount total yet, but whatever it is, it will be money given to help out with worthy causes - which are real people who need assistance.   The labor of love doesn't stop there.  We purposely priced the garage sale items low so that we could offer deals to those who normally can not spend full price for something new.  We gave them an opportunity to get a needed item for the kitchen, or some new bedding...or even a little knick knack that they other wise would not have been able to afford. 

This labor of love was tiring. 3 busy days!  But it was very worth the effort.  

Friday, April 12, 2013

The letter K

Today's letter is K....and this is the first time during this challenge that I had to pull out a dictionary to help my brain think of K words.  Koala, kitchen, Ku Klux Klan, Kansas - yikes!  The letter K is difficult, especially for me this morning since I am tired and have another busy day ahead preparing for the big church garage sale tomorrow. 

But, I will go with the word kindergarten.  Why?  It's a happy word.  Who doesn't think back to that first year of school and bring up images of fun times, story reading, snack time - and when I was little we even had "nap time"!   I think of kindergarten teachers as always being sweet and cheerful.  The first examples of what a teacher should be. 

Remember the book " Everything I know I learned in Kindergarten"?   It was about learning to share.  It was about that first year being the foundation of what came after, and it helped you become the person you would be all your life. 

Today many children attend preschool and so kindergarten has become different than when I went.  There's more learning and less play.   I could write a whole 'nother post about that, because preschools cost money and the fortunate go, but not all children do.  Those who are unable to attend an expensive preschool walk into public kindergarten class already behind...not knowing their ABC's, not counting, etc.  The education divide starts that early.  But, like I said - that discussion is for another time.

Today I'm focusing on adorable, little children, wide-eyed and ready to enjoy the day!  Children who love going to school, not sure what to expect but ready to learn, to listen, to play.  (Play - what a great word!  I may have to use that for the letter P.)

Walking forward but looking sideways, holding a little friend's hand...  

kindergarten.   What a beautiful time!  

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The letter J

Since this is the first time doing the A to Z Challenge I think I would be remiss if I didn't say Jesus was my J word.   I sat for a few minutes to think of other J words but nothing compelled me as much as Jesus...and I know I'm certainly not the first to say that!

Most of my readers are well-acquainted with Jesus, son of God, part of the Triune God, once also a man who came to earth to show us how to live.  Then He died for us, only to conquer death and let us know that earthly death is not the end for us.   I think most of us know the  "story".   I like to remind people it's not a fiction story... I think as kids we think of "story time"  as a time when we listened to silly stories read. The Bible is not that.  In fact, it's a book of biography!

Anyway, I chose Jesus as my J word today because I have used him as an example in my life for how to live, and how I want to treat others.  Remember the slogan "What Would Jesus Do?"    WWDJ?   It may be a bit passé now but it's still a question I ask myself in situations I get into when I am unsure.  I figure if I react or respond as I think Jesus would then I'm doing the best thing I could.   He is the role model.   He spoke of peace and love and helping others.  He gave us the "answer" to living with one another.  We all still don't always get it - or follow through with what he taught.  But if we did it would certainly be a happier and more caring world.  

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Letter H and the Letter I

I ran out of time yesterday to write about the letter H in the A to Z Challenge.  So, today I will write about both H, and today's letter,  the letter I.   (If you are looking for this week's Hodgepodge - it's the last post before this one.)

First...H.  I have picked the word Honesty for the letter H in the challenge because it's been on my mind quite a bit lately.  I have had a couple of discussions about honesty lately, and to tell you the truth, I'm a bit confused about if it's ALWAYS right to be completely honest, or can there be a time when speaking honestly should not be done.   Is there ever a gray area when it comes to honesty??  

We live in a world where it seems so many people - politicians, celebrities, leaders, and others - don't speak openly and honestly.  They either "fudge" on the truth, or even at times totally make up events or beliefs.   And, they seem to "get away with it."   And, just what does that mean?   Is it okay not to be honest if you are either not caught at all - or just momentarily chastised, then it's forgotten?   If you do get away with not being honest, do you tend to find telling a lie easier the next time?  And, does there finally come a time when so many lies are out there that nobody ever knows real truth? 

I know I'm asking more questions, then giving any answers. 

I was raised with a sense of right and wrong, and I learned that telling a lie was wrong.  Especially if it was "planned" and perhaps used as a "cover up."   I'm sure I tested it with my parents when I was young.  But, I learned that honesty is the best policy - and I still truly belief it.  I was also born with an honesty gene in terms that I can not lie without feeling foolish, acting badly at it...and feeling very guilty.   It's who I am.

But, the word and action of living honestly has me feeling kind of sad today.  So many people don't do it... and don't seem to care. It scares me.

Now...  to the letter I - and a topic completely different!   For the letter I I pick ice cream!!   Who doesn't love ice cream?   I certainly enjoy ice cream at times... and I have my favorite flavors:  double fudge brownie, chocolate, butter pecan, to name a few.  But, ice cream has another connotation for me.   See, my hubby has worked in the ice cream business for 2/3s of his work career. ...and ice cream has been very, very good to us!   So...thanks to everyone out there who loves ice cream as a treat, or who includes it at a celebration, or even uses it to make you feel better at a down time!!   We all scream for ice cream!  

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Hodgepodge is back!

Our hodgepodge host took a week off for Easter, and she is back now with a new set of questions.  Thank you Joyce!  Below are the questions and my answers.  Feel free to respond and play along! 

1.  Share one fun thing you did last week, while Hodgepodge was on 'Spring Break'.

The weather is finally 'springy' here, and warming up, so we took our boat out on the rivers this past Sunday afternoon.  I always enjoy the time spent out in nature, going to spots only enjoyed by boat.  It's such a beautiful world out there! We saw a few ospreys coming back to their nests and preparing them.  Here's a little fact for you:  ospreys use the same nest year after year.  They come back to them when Spring arrives, and fix them up with some new twigs to prepare for their eggs.   I love to watch all the action out on the waters.  Soon the fish will literally be jumping (for joy) again...  and the alligators will be sunning themselves in the mud.

2. April 10th is National Sibling Day...do you have siblings, and if so are you close? Share a favorite story featuring one of your siblings.

Who knew?  Well, happy National Siblings Day to my two siblings Sue and Mark!   I think we have remained as close as we can considering we live apart geographically.   I am not a telephone person so we don't talk often...but we manage to know what's going on in each other's lives thanks to Facebook, etc.   We see each other at least twice each year:  at Thankgiving - and then for a week together at  Lakeside, Ohio.  I think our annual vacation week at Lakeside has definitely kept us close as a family.   A favorite story?   We did a lot of camping as kids with our mom and dad.  When I think back to childhood I think of those times together. Adventures, good & bad, on trips - with 3 kids and a dog sharing the back seat.   I am the youngest, so I know I was the annoying little sister - especially to my sister who is 5 years older than me (I like to remind her that she's older even now!! lol)  

3.  Is it important to you to 'buy American'?  Why or why not?  How much of an effort do you make to 'buy American'?

I do not spend extra time looking for a purchase made in America vs. coming from another country.  And to tell you the truth, we live in such a global economy now that I think it's too fuzzy to separate.  I mean I just got a new Honda, but they have a huge production factory in Ohio.  BMW is here in South Carolina.  Clothing is often an American company, but made in Asian countries.  I think you can drive yourself crazy trying to find a true American-only product.   And, then there is the price to consider...      so, no, I do not make an effort to 'buy American.'

4.  Besides The Bible, what book has impacted you spirituality in some way?

I look forward to reading other bloggers' responses to this question because I think it will give me a nice 'reading list'.    For me, I have been impacted in recent years by the authors who have experienced death and have come back.   There have been a few of them.  Two good ones:  "Proof of Heaven" by Eben Alexander, and "Heaven is for Real" by Todd & Colton Burpo.

5.  April showers bring May flowers or so the saying goes.  Do you find rainy days calming or depressing?  When were you last caught in a rainstorm?  What's blooming in your neck of the woods?

I find a thundershower calming... when they quickly come in - and go out.  But, a whole day of rain, and the greyness that goes with it, is pretty depressing.  I am an outside person.  So, I don't handle being stuck indoors for very long.   The last time I was caught in a rainstorm was probably a year or so ago out on the golf course.  I was playing with my hubby, my cousin, and her friend. We had to drive our golf carts and take cover under a grove of trees and wait it out.  

We have lots of things blooming here.  Thankfully, South Carolina has an early spring.  The spring bulb flowers are up:  daffadils, tulips, and hyacinths.  The beautiful azaleas are in full bloom right now (as you will see when you watch the Masters this coming weekend.)  Dogwoods are flowering. And, I love the wisteria, and princess Anne roses blooming.  We have had camellia blossoms all winter long - and they are still producing blooms.   It's VERY pretty here this time of year!

6.  What's your favorite yellow food?

Cheese!  Sometimes I make a meal out of cheese & crackers - and wine!   I love mac and cheese, and I love feta cheese on salads (guess it's really white).   I love all kinds of cheese!

7.  April is National Poetry Month... what's a poem that holds special meaning for you, and why is it special?

I had to think about this for a bit.  Psalms are poems - as are music lyrics.  So, I think I'd have to say that they are the type of poetry that I love. 

8. My random thought.

I played in my second concert last night with our local community band.  We played all kinds of show tune medleys and a few marches.  The band geek in me loves it all! I'm certainly not the best flutist in our group, but that's okay. I'm learning, practicing more, and enjoying the people and music.   You are never to old to do something you love!

Monday, April 8, 2013

G is for Garage Sale

I'm using today's letter G in the A to Z challenge as an advertisement for my church Garage Sale happening this Saturday.  (St. Peter's Lutheran - Pawleys Island, 8:00am - 12Noon.)

I am one of the ladies in charge of it and this sale is a big fundraiser event for the women of the church.  We raise money to give to charities - and to pay for some "in-house" needs.  Our big charity this year is our local chapter of Habitat for Humanity, but we will also give to Backpack Buddies and to the ladies' quilting group.

Do you like going to garage sales?   Are you one of those who wake up early on Saturday morning with newspaper in hand, ready to search out a great deal?  

I admit I have come to love Springtime and the "big" garage sales that take place around here.  Our church sale is fun and I always find a few "treasures" there (and I get first "dibs" since I am setting it up)  I love to go to the ones put on by whole neighborhoods in our town too.  We have some communities that hold a Garage Sale with 30 or more homes participating!  It's like a frenzy going place to place - again, looking for that great bargain!  It's also a fun social event.  The weather is good - and people are out walking, saying hello to everyone (hey - it's the south! they do that here!)

So, my letter G is all about the joys of a springtime Garage Sale! Cleaning out, selling, then finding treasures - and raising money to help others.   It's all good

if you are a local, I hope you can come to ours at St. Peter's, this Saturday morning! 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Letter F

The letter for today is F.  So, it's the perfect time to write a little about the word Fabian.

No, not the singer from the 50's.  Do any of you remember him?   But instead Fabian, as in my married last name.  It's interesting - I just reached the point not too long ago where I have had it as my last name longer than my maiden name. 

And, it's a bit interesting because my hubby was not born with the name.  He was adopted by his step-father at age 2 and got the last name that way.   His step-father, Jesse Fabian, of Charleston, SC was a "man about town" in the 1950's.  He owned and ran one of the largest liquor stores in all the area. It used to be on Meeting Street, in downtown Charleston. And, Jesse was very involved in local and state politics, which at the time was very Democratic.  He even attended the National Convention in Miami one year as a South Carolina representative. 

I never got to meet the man. Let's just say there were family issues, and some illegal doings in the back of the liquor store way before I met my hubby.  I don't want to focus on that.

But one thing the Fabian name is known for, thanks to Jesse, is the bright red dots you see outside a liquor store.  The story goes that in the 50's Jesse was trying to come up with a way to advertise and let people know he sold liquor.   At the same time Lucky Strike cigarettes were popular - and so was smoking!   He took the red dot idea right off the Lucky Strike package... and painted 3 red dots on the front of his business.

Shortly, around South Carolina other liquor store owners started putting red dots on their buildings too.  The idea spread. 

Today when you drive around the state you still see the red dots, especially in rural areas.  The red dots came to be known as a symbol for a place that sold liquor.   In time it has become a symbol in other states too - 3 red dots in a row. Some state liquor stores display them. 

I'd like to say the Fabian name started the red dot craze, now used for Target stores, but that would be stretching it a bit.  ha!

So today, the letter F is for my family's last name - and their little claim to fame!

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Letter E

I admit I didn't think of an E word immediately.  Not one word came to mind quickly with an emotional connection for me anyway...   eggs, envelope, easy.

But, after a few minutes of thinking about it, I will say that my E word is Etiquette.  

Why?   I think it's a word that is slowly disappearing, but it's still essential to many aspects of life and to caring about people.  I looked up the definition and etiquette means using social convention, to have good manners, to follow the conduct that is accepted.

With each generation etiquette changes - and more than less it relaxes.   Gone are the days of "etiquette school"...yes, children DID go to them to learn things like how to set the proper table, how to introduce people to each other, and how to behave at parties, etc.   Boys were taught to hold a door for a young lady and to pull out her chair to help her sit.

Okay, so some etiquette is dated and gone with the "women's lib" and equality movement. 

But, I think my point for picking etiquette as my E word is that sometimes, still today, helping another person - and using "proper etiquette" is a very nice sign of respect.   It can be a positive thing for the person giving - and receiving.  

So, I hope etiquette doesn't totally disappear.   What do you think?  Should we be putting a bit more emphasis on etiquette? 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Letter D

Today's letter in the blogger's "A to Z Challenge" is the letter D.

D  is for daughters.
I will use today to tell you how blessed I am to have two beautiful daughters, Lauren & Kristen - and how much I love them! 

When I was a brand new, young mom I had no clue what would lie ahead for me.  What mother really does?  I didn't know what kind of children my girls would be, physically, emotionally, socially, and on...   having children is always a bit of a "pot luck" experience.   You take the combination you get and enjoy the mix and do your best to savor the moments. 

Sometimes when I was "in those moments" it was hard to take the time to enjoy them.  No lie.  Motherhood is tough at times, worrisome, challenging, tiring.   Right?  But, I can think back on those days and remember the joys and the experiences together, and really smile.   Some special ones include:

* Family car trips.  It didn't matter where we were going really because we made the trip an adventure.  We played games like "name a type of candy" or "name an animal".   "Name a city using the last letter of the name before" and many alphabet games going A to Z with license plates and signs on the road.  We listened to some great music! It was a time to introduce the girls to some of the parents favorites - like Frank Sinatra, and the Beatles, and now country! 

* Holiday traditions.   Sharing holidays and all that go with them has been a treat for me!  Carving pumpkins, and dying eggs.  Of course, decorating the Christmas tree! Summer weeks at Lakeside together.  And, now we celebrate the 4th of July BIG each year with friends and family at the beach!

* Church events.  Their baptisms and Confirmations.   Both daughters also participated in services as crucifer and acolyte. They attended Sunday School regularly with "strong" encouragement from me.  And we all attended Vacation Bible School each summer.

* School concerts and programs.   So many, many band and orchestra concerts!   I remember well a sinking feeling in my stomach when I attended the very last one. It was a small group of strings that performed at the catholic church for baccalaureate before graduation. It was Kristen's last performance.  I loved hearing music come from my girls... piano, flute, violin, trombone.  Kristen was even in a county singing group one year; Lauren tried out various instruments...and I remember lugging around a stringed bass for a few weeks!     Lauren danced...   Kristen played in a string group called "In Rare Form" for weddings and cocktail parties.

* The "Fabian Friday Night Family Dinner"!  During the girls high school years we made each Friday night dinner out a ritual!  Many, many dinners at Krogh's Restaurant in Sparta - followed closely behind enjoying dinners together at the Wearhouse Grill in Hopatcong.   Friends were welcome and often there were others along.  But, the four Fabians together on Friday night was a must!

If I sat down now and started popping  home movies in the DVD player I 'd be sitting here all day watching all those "moments" go by again - and really smile!    Seeing those little girls and hearing their cute little voices is priceless!  (Just as the Mastercard commercial says.)

Oh yes, my daughters were wonderful children (and I am just a bit biased!) - and now they have become amazing adults.  I am loving how they continue to learn and work hard, but still enjoy life around them.  I see them maturing, and I see how they care about people and situations.  I love the people they have in their lives - and the good decisions they make. 

So...D is definitely for my darling daughters!  They make this mother proud! 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The letter C

I am about to run out the door...so quickly I will tell you that my word for the letter C is Children!

Children, especially babies and toddlers, are a weakness I have!!!  I love seeing them...  I love their cuteness; I love when they babble or start talking in a sweet little voice; I love the hugs they give!   I love that children are all in - or all out.  They laugh, then cry, then smile & laugh easily.  They love to play...they aren't concerned with the problems of the world.

Part of Sunday's Easter sermon was about having faith like a child.   What a wonderful attribute!!!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Letter B - in the A to Z Challenge

A few B words have come into mind...yes, including that one!  ha!  But I think my choice to use in the month-long challenge for the letter B is Basketball.

In the past, I have never been a big fan of watching basketball.  I much prefer football, college and pro.  But, this year I picked teams and made a bracket for the NCAA "March Madness" play-offs (my first time filling one out) and found that doing that made it much more fun!!  I recently read in the newspaper a study that showed people who root for a team, or a sport in general, are happier people!  I think I am a living example of that!  

Now, my choices in my bracket will not win me the top awards this year. I tried to pick a few under-dogs but I didn't pick the right ones. I mean, really Harvard?  And where did that obscure Florida team come from?  But playing along certainly made it fun for me, and gave me a bit of conversation for everyone else involved. 

Here's my other thought about basketball:  I consider it a very violent sport.  I always have...even before Kevin Ware had his leg bone shattered the other night.  I have had a hard time watching basketball on TV because the action under the basket gets so rough!  Arms and elbows everywhere, jumping up and down on top of each other!  With no protection on them!!   And, sometimes when they run down court they fly full speed and then fly through the air - not knowing how they will land!  Yaw!!!   It scares me!   I can actually  watch football easier because they have helmets and pads and learn how to take a tackle. 

As for the Kevin Ware bone break: I heard about it after it happened, and I was thankful that the media outlets decided not to show it at all. Hearing  the reactions from the coaches,  his fellow players, people on Twitter, etc. made me realize I did NOT want to see it.  It sounded so horrible!   Then...yesterday, I was just scanning my News Feed on Facebook and there it was!  A close up picture of his leg - broken completely in half, with bone sticking out - and the bottom half just dangling there.  It's forever in my mind now.  I did NOT want to see that.   <<<<shiver>>>>

March Madness is not over yet and one of my Championship Game teams is still alive!  So, come on Louisville!   If they really do make it to the big game, I will be watching!!   Who knew?  I'm enjoying basketball this year!!


Monday, April 1, 2013

The A to Z Challenge

Hi blogger friends!

there is a writing "game" out there in bloggers-world that starts today. It's called the A to Z Challenge.  Participants will blog about a topic alphabetically all of April (except Sundays.) I don't know if I can keep up with it but I like the discipline, and since it's "Day One" I'll give it a start and see what happens.

The Letter A

A is for Anticipation.

April is a month of anticipation for me. I am excited about the coming days and some events that will happen soon.  I am anticipating the following:

The Women's Church Garage Sale.  I am in charge of it and I enjoy the work and the fun times with the other ladies.  I find it like a little treasure hunt as we get items brought in for the sale, and I get to look through it all and get a "head start" on my purchases.  I like cleaning out here at home & taking the items for sale there too.   It's great to get rid of things, knowing they will be used by others and the money raised will go for some needy causes.  The sale is Saturday, April 13th.

The Pawleys Island band concert.  I play flute and we have been practicing for a few months for our April concert. Mostly show tunes!  I love them!  Lots of "medleys" from Phantom of the Opera, Les Miz, Willy Wonka, the Sound of Music, and more.  Such great music!

Better weather, more flowers, and longer hours of daylight!  I look forward to all that Mother Nature  brings in April! (Well, maybe not severe storms & tornadoes. Spring rain is needed but not too much, please!)  

I look forward to and anticipate some days on the boat.  Boating season is just starting.   All of the summer activities are just around the corner. I anticipate all of those fun times!  The CMA Fest, our  annual family week at Lakeside, golfing, and boating...to name a few.

So, A is for Anticipation.   

What will letter B mean to me?   

Tune in tomorrow!