Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Hodgepodge questions and my answers

Hello everyone! I hope you had a really nice Memorial Day weekend!  It's important to take time and remember why we have Monday as a national holiday, and to think about all those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for us and our lifestyles.   We also get to enjoy a three day weekend at the start of warm weather (in many parts of the country), and for me it's truly a celebration of the start of my favorite time of year!

Now, as to the Hodgepodge questions for the week...  here they are, along with my answers.

1.  What question do you often ask yourself? 

"Why can't we all just get along?"      That's defintely it.   I know we all have individual beliefs and interests, and we have been raised differently and live in different parts of the world.  That's what makes life interesting!  Right?  Can't we accept these differences, and just get along?  

2.  Do you grow roses?  What is your favorite color of rose?  Ever been given a dozen roses?  where was the prettiest rose garden you remember seeing? 

I have a few rose bushes around my house.  I do like them - but I don't think they were planted in the right spot.  I have 3 rose plants in the backyard and they just don't get enough sun.  Maybe one of these days I will transfer them to the front yard where I think they will do better.   My favorite color?   It's called the "sonya rose"....a pinky peach color.  When I was in college I used to work in a florist and I got to take home flowers that were just a little too old to sell...and whenever I could, I took home the sonya roses!  It was a nice little perk of working in the business!  I have a wonderful hubby who remembers special occasions with roses, so yes, I have received dozens of roses over the years.   Prettiest garden?   I love gardens but I can't think of a strickly rose garden - but I hear there's a beautiful one at the White House!  If memory serves me right it was put in by Lady Bird Johnson.

3.  Do you read the freshness dates on grocery store products?  Will you use eggs past their "use by" date?  Take medication that's expired?  Buy a dented can? 

I do read the freshness dates, especially for milk and bread.   I may use eggs a few days past the "use by" date, but not much beyond.  And I try not to buy a dented can.  I worry about bacteria in it.  (Or, is that an old wives tale??)   As for medication, yes, I will use them past the expiration date because I think if anything is different it's just lost some of it's potency.  

4.  Should athletes be role models? 

This is a loaded question!   I think anyone who is in the public's eye has a responsible (and should have a desire) to present themselves in the best light they can.  It is a choice to take on a job, or play a sport, or work in politics, that puts your name and face in front of the media - and therefore, in front of people, including children!   With it, comes the responsibility.  I know many don't want it... or say they didn't "sign up" to be an open book.  But, it's reality...and it can't be denied.   I wish more of them would see it as an "opportunity" and relish the fact that they can show good sportsmanship and be a person of high morals.

5.  Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay of Nepal became the first explorers to reach the top of Mt. Everest on May 29th back in 1953 - what's something you hope to achieve in your lifetime?

This is an interesting question because I think my hope on what I want to achieve has changed throughout my lifetime, as I have aged.  I think as a young adult I wanted to be successful and remembered for doing something BIG that would change the world, and make it better.  Children and young adults are taught that they can do anything and achieve what they set their hearts and minds to do.  but, as we age, it becomes realistic that we all can't all be scientists that discover a cure, or an amazing singer or musician leaving a timeless song, or we can't lead change the political tone and bring justice to the world.  BUT...my hope now is that I can do MY PART and feel I did my best.  That I can love and give - and have no regrets.  

6.  What would you do if you had 20 acres of land and the money to develop it any way you choose? 

This follows the last question well.  Why?  Because my ideas of what I want to do with my life - and how to use precious land - has changed over time.   So, now, I think I would leave that land alone and keep the natural beauty there.  Oh - yes, it would be nice to build a hospital for the uninsured, or a food kitchen for the hungry - worthy causes.  Perhaps I would use part of the 20 acres for that.  But, my love for God's world has grown and I cherish the beauty of nature too.

7.  If I invited you to a party with a 7pm start time, what time will I actually see you there? 

Depends on the type of "party"!   If it's a party given for a guest of honor, or a surprise, then getting there at 7pm is important. If it's a party for friends, like Book Club or an in-home sales party & demonstration (trunk shows, Tupperware, baskets, etc.) then again arriving right on time is expected.  But, sometimes if it's a different event then I would probably arrive ten minutes after 7pm...in hopes of not being first, and giving the host time to have everything ready.

8. My random thought.

Anybody else out there going through some withdrawal without "American Idol" and "Dancing with the stars" on TV??  I guess I have my evenings back... but I do enjoy those shows.  I haven't gotten into "The Voice" as much... and don't watch any other contest shows.   Thankfully the evenings are lovely now. I don't need to turn the TV on.

Have a good week!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Hot off the press... the Hodgepodge.

Happy Tuesday everyone.  As we watch the recovery efforts in Moore, Oklahoma, let's take a moment to pray for them, and to thank God for all the love shown.  Again, we see that tragedy brings people together and makes them, and us, realize that we are all alike and share in the pain and joy that life brings.

On to the Hodgepodge....

1.  It's National Bike Week...do you own a bicycle?  When did you last ride a bike?

Yes, we have several bicycles in our garage.  My husband is more the bike rider than me. He loves to go out on long treks and we live in a perfect place for him.  We have flat land with some nice bicycle trails and neighborhoods to ride through.   Hubby even rides his bike on the hard sand on the beach sometimes.  

It's also "Bike Week" here - as in motorcycles.  The Grand Strand has two each May, and one in October.  Last week was the Harley Davidson rally and bikers came from all up and down the east coast for the shared interest, with lots of special activities, bike rides, etc.   This coming week is the  "rice burner" bike week...  also called "Black Bike Week"...   mostly African Americans converging for the same good times.    Thankfully, last week we had good weather and no fatalities, and I pray  we have the same conditions for the riders coming here soon.  

2.  What's something you learned in school that wasn't part of the curriculum? 

This question makes me think about the book "Everything I know I learned in Kindergarten". Like the book, in school I learned how to relate with peers and with people of authority.  I learned when to speak and when it's best to stay quiet. I learned to follow dreams, and to give a try to all kinds of activities.  I learned that sometimes failure is a really good lesson!  I learned that everyone has something special and unique about them.  

3.  What's a food you've never tried, but want to try?  What's a food you've tried and will never try again? 

I'll answer the second question first.  I have tried liver and do not care to ever eat it again.   A food I have never tried but want to?   That's a toughie.  I'm not really adventurous with my cuisine, and prefer simple foods.  At this point in my life if I have not tried something it's because I do NOT want to!

4.  Have you been more demanding on yourself lately or less?  Why? Do you think that's a good trend? 

I think I am less demanding on myself.  Again, is it an age thing?  Perhaps.  Because, as I have gotten older I have been able to put everything into better perspective. I think I understand what is important in life and what is not.  I have raised my daughters, I have a happy marriage.  I am content with my life.  I like the trend!  ( :

5.  Who is your favorite book, movie, or TV show villain? 

Interesting question because in general we don't like villains!  Right?    If I had to pick a movie villain then it would be Cruella DeVille from "101 Dalmations".  Maybe because she was so easy to hate.  Also, Ursala from "The Little Mermaid".  

6. How concerned are you about identity theft? 

My hubby will say I am not concerned enough.  I kind of live my life as an open book.  I don't "worry" about people stealing my information.   Obviously, I do not hand out my SS number or credit card numbers easily.  I am old-fashioned when it comes to banking and still hand-write deposit slips and go to the bank.  I'm not big on on-line banking.    We have a shredder and I use it.  So, I am "smart" about my personal numbers, but I am not nervous about them being stolen.

7.  Would you rather have an ordinary home in an extraordinary place or an extraordinary home in an ordinary place? 

Easy answer. I live in an extraordinary place!  I love the beauty around me. I love the birds singing, the flowers, the marshes, the beaches.  It's lovely!!  If I can spend time outdoors, then I am happy.  I am fortunate to also have a lovely house, BUT I don't worry myself with the status of it, or keeping up with the Joneses, or having the newest fangled item in it.  That's not where I get my happiness.

8.  My random thought. 

Again, the realities of life - the tornado yesterday, and some health issues of family members - keep  me focused on enjoying each day!  Because...you just never know!    So, each day I try and get out there and walk, and listen, and take in the beauty!    I hope you do too!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Southern ways

I am not a native southerner.  I was born in Ohio and grew up there half my childhood days -  in "Middle America"  (why it's called that I don't know - it's not in the middle of the country  geographically.) And, I also grew up later in Maryland.  Yes, Maryland is just south of the Mason-Dixon line so it is considered "southern" when lumped into a category...but  it's also a part of that great East Coast urban sprawl mega-city (DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Boston.)  Maryland certainly has some wonderful, unique features but it doesn't have a lot of what I think of as typical southern customs and a way of life.

I have learned to love a lot about living in a true southern state, the state of South Carolina.  In fact this morning I was walking on the beach with 3 lady friends and we talked about the absolute beauty of the area - the marshes, the ocean, the sea birds, and other creatures on land and in the air.   We all felt this was such a little hidden gem.  It's a place to be able to sit back, and to enjoy nature, and to commune with God... and keep life in perspective.    The pace is slower.   In fact we were out walking as part of a team of volunteers who come out to the beach early each morning to look for loggerhead turtle tracks on the sand.  It's the start of the season for the mamas to come to shore to lay their eggs by the dunes, and we help find them & protect them.   (Another post will go into more detail soon.)

People of the south have a real respect for nature.  The waterways are kept pristine and beautiful.  The pine forest areas are preserved.  I have lived a lot of places and South Carolina is a gorgous part of the world!

So....   here's my one "problem" I have with life here in the south - and it's certainly a big deal here (and I suppose in all other southern states too.)  It's the love affair with guns and with hunting.   Now, I understand historically how important owning a gun was - for protection and for getting food.  Life was different than it is now.  But the gun mentality has not changed.  People still go hunting (when meat can be easily bought at the local grocery store).  It is a "sport."  It is taught to young children.   People boast about killing innocent animals. They smear blood on themselves and take pictures.   They present guns as gifts.  They dress in camoflauge and hide - and then bait the deer or other animals to be killed.  They think it's fun!

Now, I know I bring up many issues....   gun use, gun safety, gun availability, killing for sport,  animal cruelty, man vs. animal, freedoms, and more.   I know a true southerner doesn't see a conflict in loving this beautiful land - and shooting the creatures that live here.


This morning's newspaper had another "accidental" shooting of a child because a loaded gun was left where the child could get to it.   I don't know....  it just seems so senseless.  So stupid.   So sad.
What are people thinking?   Does the "right" to own a gun mean we should just accept that these accidents will happen?

How can we love the land, but yet act savagely at times  - and call it a sport? And teach it?

I know hunting is something that is handed down, from dad to son.  Around here it's big business too.   It's part of the "country package"....  country music, beer, guns.   A few of the country singers are in ads for the NRA, and Luke Bryan is the spokesman for a big hunting merchandise company.

So, although...believe me, I love the south - I love the climate, the beauty, the slower pace, the music, the pride -  I will never understand the desire to hunt.   I know this post will upset some friends, and even some family, but it's how I feel.  I put the subject out there to think about... to consider WHY you do it...and if owning guns and if killing animals is really something you consider a good thing.  I don't.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mid-May musings with the Hodgepodge

As always, thank you to Joyce for the weekly Hodgepodge questions.  Here they are, with my answers.

1.  May is National Blood Pressure month...  what sends yours soaring, either literally or figuratively?  What calms it down?  When did you last have your bp checked? 

I don't get revved up too much in a negative way that will make my blood pressure raise.  I'm just not made that way.  Thank goodness.  I have always had a pretty steady blood pressure and do not need medications to lower it, or raise it.   Figuratively, I suppose I get upset when I hear of injustices in the world - and the wrong-doers getting away with it.   But, I know life isn't fair, and that one day everyone will have to be accountable for their actions.   I calm myself down in many ways - lamaze breathing (it's just not for pregnant women), and praying, and trusting in God.   I have my blood pressure checked everytime I go into a doctor's office but I don't think I have been to one for at least six months, perhaps longer.

2.  You just found $1 - what do you spend it on?  How about $10, $100? 

If I found one dollar I would just stick it in my wallet.  There's not much I could buy for $1 that I yearn for... I mean can't even get a good cup of coffee for $1.  (Dunkin Donuts medium coffee is $1.65.)  If I found $10 I might spend it on a coffee and biscotti, and save the change!   $100?  A new top or two perhaps.  A few new books.  

3.  Mandatory labeling of genetically engineered (GE) food has been proposed, but not enacted in the US.  How much attention do you give food labels before you buy?  Are you in favor of labeling if it means an increase in food prices?  Is this an issue you've been following and feel strongly about, or is this the first you've heard of it?  

I must admit I do not read food labels on a regular basis.  I do not know if I understand half of what is written on them.  I have not been too concerned up to this point, and I make a point most times to buy simple, fresh foods.   I don't eat much frozen - except some Lean Cuisines.  I suppose when it comes to "fresh foods" I'd like to know if they have been shot up with something chemical to make them bigger and tastier.   This is not an issue I have heard much about but I support total openess and honesty in food production and packaging.

4.  May 15th marks the birth date of Frank Baum, the author of "The Wizard of oz."  At this point in time, are you in need of brains, courage, heart, or a trip back home?  Explain. 

This question makes me laugh!  I suppose we all could use a bit more of all of it!  But, at this time I worry most about my brain.  I am "of the age" where the brain seems to be working slower and not retrieving info that I know is in there somewhere!  I don't want to get dymenta as I continue to age, so I work crosswords most days and read books all the time.  It does worry me.

5.  "There's no place like home" is an oft repeated line from Baum's book. When was the last time you felt the truth of this statement? 

I feel the truth of this statement every single time I go away from home and then return.  Even if I love where I go to visit, and the people I see, it's always great to be back in the comfort and security of my home.  I love home!

6.  Steak...   yes please or no thank you?   What cut do you prefer and how do you like yours cooked? Sauce or no sauce?  Besides your own kitchen, where's a place you go to get a great steak? 

Yes, please!   I love steak!  I try not to eat red meat that often but when I do eat steak I prefer a petite filet, cooked medium.  I love it cooked "Pittsburgh-style"... seared in some butter to crispen the outside & keep the juices in.  I love some mushrooms on top,   I have a few wonderful places to go for a good steak, including "New York Prime Restaurant"  in Myrtle Beach - and any of the Palm Restaurants.

7.  When was the last time you were in a genuine hurry? 

I live by the motto "To arrive early is to be on time, and to arrive on time is late."  So, I do my best to allow plenty of travel time when I go places. I do not like the anxious feeling of being late.  So, it's been a long time since I have really had to be in a hurry.  (Maybe that's why my blood pressure is good!)

8. My random thought.

I am proud of my oldest daughter who just got accepted into the graduate program for a Masters of Teaching at NC State.  She worked for a few years after getting her under-graduate degree, and has now decided to go back to school and become a teacher.  She got her letter yesterday and starts classes next week!

Thanks for checking in here.  Enjoy your day!

Monday, May 13, 2013

A little bit of this, a little bit of that...

I haven't blogged much beyond the weekly Hodgepodge in quite awhile, and it's quiet around the house right now. Perhaps a good time to put down a few thoughts.

First, congrats to my daughter Lauren - and I say thank you!  Lauren got her acceptance letter in the mail today for grad school at NC State's grad program for a Masters of Teaching, and I am happy to have a child in school again!  Go Wolfpack!   I think saying I have a daughter still in college keeps me young...right?  Ha!   Really, good luck to her, and study hard!  I'm proud of her.   (I'm proud of BOTH daughters... equal love from this Mom!)

It's finally great weather here in the lowcountry!  Yippeeeee!!!  It certainly was a strange spring as most people know... here, and everywhere.  I "love love love" these days of sun and warmth, with still low humidity.  Aaahhh....

This weather is so lovely I just want to sing...    thankfully, this is a blog & no sound is available!

I'm glad to report my sister is back home after a 2 week stay in the hospital.  She flipped and flopped and broke her femur - so she needed surgery, then rehab, then had some blood clots issues, then went back to rehab.  She's home now and hopefully getting along okay at home with help from family and friends.   She truly broke her leg due to flip-flops... and I will never quit razzing her about it!  She should have been doing something much more dangerous and boast-able...like water skiing, jumping from an airplane, or even over-exercising with a large dumb-bell.   Seriously, I hope she continues to heal - and steadily improves.  I hope she can rest and not worry about going back to her job with a desk loaded up with work.

Speaking of work, it seems my hubby will be back at it soon.  Things are falling into place for a career opportunity.  I'm hoping it will be an exciting venture for him, and one that works out well...spending time committed to it, but also leaving time to still enjoy all that he loves here.

I just had a neighbor mention to me she starts Monday morning as a beach walker looking for loggerhead turtle nests.  Around here the mama turtles lay their eggs this time of year, up near the dunes, and volunteers walk the beach EARLY each morning - looking for mama's path in the sand.  The nests are then covered with netting to keep birds and other prey away (including nosy tourists) and watch the nests til hatching time. I have wanted to do this in years past - so I told my neighbor I would be her walking partner.  6:00am on the beach!

My CMA Festival countdown has started!!!  (Well it started months ago, but now it's less than a month away!) I'm so excited to be going for my 3rd year in a row!  My interest has not wained in the least!  What a great time in Nashville!!!  I'm really looking forward to sharing it with Lauren & Ryan this year...their first time.  I know they will love it too!

Tomorrow is Tuesday, which means another set of Hodgepodge questions to answer.  So, all for now my blogging friends!

Have a peaceful evening...

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Mamma mia! It's a motherly hodgepodge!

This week's Hodgepodge centers on nostalgia and childhood...about mothers, and home.  I have had to put some thought into the answers, thinking back a loooong way to my youngster days! ( :   Here's my attempt:

1.  When the children of today grow up, what do you think they'll say about this period of time?  What do you hope they remember? 

First, I have to define "children"...because I think the question is talking about young ones, ages 3 to 12.  Those are the "childhood years."   What will they think of this time?  Looking back I suppose they will think that the technology was old-fashioned and that things were slow.  Doesn't each generation feel that?  Our world seems to get more electronic, and faster, all the time!    What do I hope they remember?  Human interactions over machines and technology.  I hope they remember fun times that they spent with family and friends... because that is what's always important, generation after generation.

2. National Teacher's day is the first Tuesday of May (this year it's May 7th)... share how a particular teacher positively influenced you. 

Yes, this is a tough question because I have racked my brain and can not think of a particular teacher who I loved and who made class-time special. Isn't that sad?  In elementary school I do remember Mrs. Hayes, my 4th grade teacher, as being very sweet and kind.  I remember my high school band director Mr. Rohrbaugh, because I loved band.  I don't know if he was particularly good at what he did though.  In college I enjoyed my Art History class taught by Dr. Bauer, because he brought old paintings to "life" for me, and I learned so much about why painters painted what they did, and how, and what was going on in that time period.  I also remember Mr. D. Lightman who taught newspaper journalism in college.  I recently saw his name as the byline for a newspaper article and emailed him.  I thanked him for teaching me, and for using his real life experiences in the classroom.  He emailed me back, so happy to hear from a former student!

3.  What's a dish your mama made, that if set in front of you today would whisk you right back to childhood? 

My mother made homemade apple dumplings.  I loved them! We poured cold milk on them, hot out of the oven.  It was really eating a dessert for dinner!    She also made an unusual tuna & potato chip casserole.... very different, but I loved it! I used to make it when I was first married.

4. Mother May I was a game we played when I was growing up... no pieces, parts, or plug-ins.  what games from your childhood do you remember loving that were also pieces, parts, and plug-in free? 

Tag - you're it!     (Olley, olley, in free!!!)  

5.  Besides your own mother, tell us about a woman who influenced you as a child.  

Again, a stumper for me.   Again, it makes me feel sad that I didn't have women "role models" that I felt close to, or who influenced me when I was a child.  I liked my girlfriend's mother Mrs. Olson.  She was always very sweet, a bit old fashioned, happy to be a wife.

You know, I think because I didn't feel a connection with others, I have made it a bit of a mission to be a female role model for young girls and ladies.  I want to share time with them, to give directional help, to be available.

6.  Mamma Mia!   What's the best play or musical you've ever seen? 

It's a tie!  "The Sound of Music" and "Phantom of the Opera".     I have seen both performed live on Broadway, and have watched the movie versions.  I love both for the story lines, but mostly for the marvelous, timeless music!

7. What are three smells that make you feel nostalgic?

My thinking cap is on again...  tough questions this week.     My mother-in-law used to always wear "Royal Secret" - only "Royal Secret"...so that perfume reminds me of her.    Babies have a wonderful, clean smell...I love that one too.  A mix of baby lotion, shampoo, powder.  (They have other "odors" too - but I'm NOT nostalgic about that! ha!)  And, lastly, I remember living in a little town in Ohio that had a Swan Rubber Company a few blocks from my house. Summer evenings when our windows were open we would get whiffs of hot rubber floating in to the house.  Not a pleasant smell, but it is an unforgettable smell!  

8.  My random thought. 

For those keeping track, I went to the Tim McGraw concert this past Friday in Charlotte. I love him as a performer, a singer, a family man, a GOOD looking man!  I decided to buy the VIP package which included special entry to a pre-show party, along with special merchandise, and excellent seats for the concert.  It wasn't cheap.  But, it was a bit disappointing.  Tim and his band only played 2 1/2 songs at the party, the merchandise was rather inexpensive and had the Pennzoil sponsorship name on it, and  they didn't have wine available at the party! What, no wine???   The seats were great though - and Tim was awesome in concert.   So, if you get the chance - go see Tim McGraw in concert but don't spend the extra money for VIP package!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The letter Z

I have come to the end of the A to Z Challenge.  I'm a day or two behind, but I stuck with it.  For that I am happy.  I will miss it but I have started a new project for May.  It's the "Honesty Experiment"  and I am participating with an online group put together by one of my daughter's high school friends.  The idea of this experiment is to realize how much lying happens, how we can work to be more honest every day, how we can change the acceptance of "white lies" in today's world - and how we can deal with lies when they happen.  I'm looking forward to it, not because I am a big liar - but because I live in a world where liars do seem to get ahead and don't have to be responsible for their actions.   I want to be more forgiving and also help change the climate to increase honest living.

But, wait...what about the letter Z?

I have chosen the word  zip, as in how quickly time can zip on by!  In fact, the month of the challenge did ZIP by!  In general, time moves a little too quickly for me.  So, I try and slow down and enjoy each day, each moment of each day.  I went to a funeral Tuesday.  It was for a beautiful, happy woman who died at age 59.  Too young. But, she lived her life with joy - and she spread it to people she met every single day.  

I know it's a challenge to "enjoy" each clicking moment as it's going by.   But, I think I have gotten better at it.  I will continue to try and "stop and smell the roses" along the way.  I guess as I age I realize how really  important it is.

Life just zips by!