Tuesday, July 30, 2013

How can we inspire?

Happy Tuesday to you all!  Every Tuesday Joyce lists a new set of Hodgepodge questions on her blog. I answer them and post my answers on Facebook, and then on Wednesday AM I post them on her blog Hodgepodge site. Over 50 people, mostly women, answer the questions each week on her site and it is really fun to read through everyones' answers.  You are welcome to join in!

1.  Share one way you think the world has changed for the better since you were a kid. 

Obviously the accessibility to the internet and to the quick information has certainly changed my life, and all our lives.  But, I think the cellphone has been the one thing that has bettered my life.  As a kid my parents were out of touch with me as soon as I walked out the door. We were "on our own" until we walked back in the door.  And, when I went off to college I only talked to them once a week on the dorm phone. I know it was all they knew - but thinking back it was sad because we didn't have much communication and closeness.

 Now, it is SO much easier to stay in touch with your children, regardless of their age.  I have loved being just a call or text away from my daughters - and I also love that they can reach me whenever they want to talk to me.

2. How 'bout one way it's changed for the worse? 

Technology has also made us all a bit more stationery.  Children don't get outside and play as much as they used to before there were video games, on demand movies, etc.   It has certainly been a part of the obesity problem here in the United States.

3. Starlight, starfish, starling, Starbucks...your favorite 'star'?  

This is an interesting question right now because I am part of a group called Moms For Gun Sense in America. I receive info from them via Facebook, and one of the concerns they have is American companies that allow patrons to freely carry weapons in their stores and outlets.  Starbucks has been pointed out by this group of moms, and the group has asked we boycott the stores. I have no problem with that! For one, I am a DD coffee drinker anyway - but I also prefer to support companies and stores with gun restrictions.

Back to the question, my favorite 'star' has got to be starlight! I love a clear summer night with starlight!  I am fortunate to live in an area without a lot of reflecting city lights so it can be pretty dark in my neighborhood at night when I walk my doggie.  I love looking up at the hundreds of stars in the night sky!  So beautiful!!

4. Name a song that's overplayed, but you love it anyway. 

"Get Your Shine On' by Florida-Georgia Line.   It has become THE country music song of the summer and the duo who sing it have won all kinds of awards for the song.  It's fun - it's happy - it's catchy - so I find I sing along.  But, yes, it's definitely overplayed.

5. When did you last have homemade ice cream?  Your latest favorite flavor? 

I assume Joyce is asking about REALLY homemade ice cream...not store bought.  I can't remember when I last had it hand-churned in an ice cream maker.  I was a kid.   My favorite flavor now?  Well, I have to brag a bit: my hubby used to work for Ciao Bella Gelato and Ice Cream and they have a key lime pie & graham cracker ice cream sandwich that is to die for!  Try it!

6.  What do you think is the best way to inspire or motivate people? 

Good question.  I think if we knew the answer then we would not have as many people on  unemployment and "living off the system."  Somehow we need to make ALL people feel connected, and valued... and let them know we ALL will be better off with equality and shared benefits.   I think if people didn't feel they are being taken for a ride, or being lied to, then they would be more inspired to work.   We need to let ALL people know they can reach for their dreams! Yes, we have differences that make us each unique and special - but the differences should be celebrated! They should not used for limiting endeavors and holding people back.

7.  When was the last time you were without power? 

* Without electricity?   A few months back, during a storm.  The power was only out for ten minutes or so.  Seemed longer! ha

* Without power in society?   The last time I voted!  I know I must vote but I feel like my little vote doesn't really matter.  I really think we should go back to a system of straight voting...no winning/losing districts, no early results, etc.

8. My random thought.

August is here - already!  I hate how summer seems to fly by!  It seems where-ever you turn it's all about "back to school" sales already.  Ugh.   I look forward to ONE think in the fall, and that's football.  I love SEC football (Go Gamecocks!!) and NFL games.   Thank god for it.   Do you have a favorite team?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Back to the Hodgepodge

While away on vacation I took a break from the weekly Hodgepodge questions.   I'm back home, and ready to tackle this week's questions.  Below are the questions and my answers.  Please feel free to comment here or on Facebook.  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

1. July 24th is Amelia Earhart Day. Earhart was the first female to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.  What's something you have recently accomplished solo?

Few things are done completely solo, or alone.  So, I'm having a hard time coming up with an answer to this.  OK.  I recently played my flute in the community concert band for a full season.  (No, I didn't play any solos! It was an accomplishment for me just to be in the band.) I dusted off my flute and went there on my own. I was nervous in the beginning because I had not played in an ensemble or large group for years and years.  I  knew I was "rusty" and I didn't know the caliber of the other players.  I'm certainly not one of the best, but that's okay. It turned out to be fun and I met some new friends.   I took a short summer break but rehearsals start up again this evening for a new season and I plan on going back.  

2. What's a product you use that never fails?

I have my favorite health and beauty products - thank you Oil of Olay!  I also have my favorite cleaning products too. I have learned to love the Mr. Clean bleach scrub pads.  Have you tried them?  I'm also pretty thrilled with the invention of the disposable toilet scrubbers on a wand.  Thank you to whomever invented it.

3. Have you found your place in the world?  Where is it?

Yes and yes.  Geographically and philosophically.   As I have written about in the past, I have lived many places in the US and I have now found a home where the people, the beauty, the weather, the lifestyle all match mine.  I'm very content here in the lowcountry of SC.   The deeper question is whether or not I have found my place - or my reason for being - on earth.  I'm getting there.  It's a life journey.  When I was younger I wondered how I could impact people, how I could make a difference, how I could live my days out serving God.  I now feel content with being a mother, a volunteer, a friend, and a wife.  Believe me, it took a while to get to this point... but I am happy with who I am and my relationships with others. 

4.  Worst movie you ever saw?

The worst movie I ever saw I actually walked out of the theatre halfway through it.  I don't remember the name because it was that bad!   In my opinion there are many bad movies out there all the time.  A good quality movie is hard to find anymore because the movie companies depend on using violence, and car chases, and "shock" language to sell it.

5. What's the last fun thing you did?

Finally an easy question to answer!  It was just last night!  I met a few girlfriends for dinner out at Murrells Inlet, and we timed it to finish eating right when the fireworks display started! 

6.  The month of July is named for Roman Emperor Julius Caeser...ever been to Rome?  What's your favorite Italian dish?

I have been to northern Italy but I have never been to Rome.   I can't say it's been on my bucket list but I'm open for anything!  I think of Rome as "Roman Catholic Central" and I am not RC so therefore I don't really care about seeing the Vatican, etc.  I do love art history though, and Rome certainly has that!    My favorite Italian dish?   Pizza.  Of course.

7.  What's one piece of advice you'd offer new mom Kate Middleton?

Oh my!  First I'd say "good luck" because she and the new little prince are going to need it!  Then I'd say to try to keep the boy as normal as possible, and away from the media vultures.  I think Diana did a pretty good job raising William and Harry...so perhaps Kate should use her as a role model.

8. My random thought.

So far it's been very quiet in the Indian Ocean. Thankfully, not many hurricanes have formed and I for one certainly hope it stays that way.  But...unfortunately, we have not even hit the midway point of hurricane season, so there's still plenty of time for conditions to change.   Let's hope they don't!

Have a good week Hodgepodge friends!

Monday, July 22, 2013

A little of this, little of that.

Hi everyone,

I have been away on vacation and haven't blogged for a long time.  I thought today might be a good day to just mention a little of this, a little of that.   Time to "catch up".

* Car travel is still one of my favorite times to listen to music!  On my return from Ohio I listened to some of my older CD's and thoroughly enjoyed myself! 

* While I was away the Zimmerman trial happened, and I caught bits and pieces of it.  I quickly realized that BY LAW George Zimmerman was going to be found "not guilty" of the murder of Trayvon Martin.   It's a sad, sad story all around.   But, I still believe that Zimmerman was the adult in the confrontation and should have known better than to get out of his vehicle after calling the police.  In fact the police dispatcher TOLD HIM to stay in his truck because the police were on the way.  He didn't... and he ended up taking the life of a young person. Yes, there was a scuffle, both fought back, both were to blame.    I also believe that civilian "Community Watch" programs should not allow carrying a loaded weapon. EVER!  I'm sorry, but I don't know my neighbors here all that well, and I certainly don't know if they are trained on proper gun use, or are trigger happy, or are mentally sane, or whatever.   I certainly don't want my neighbors riding around, looking for trouble, carrying a loaded gun. 

* We have reached mid-summer and we are almost to the "dog days" in August.  Yes, I still will take this weather, even the heat AND the humidity, over a cold day anytime!   Snow is my four letter word.   So, I can truthfully say that summertime is my favorite time of the year! 

* My pets make me feel loved!  Upon my return from vacation, my pug was so excited to see me - and she greeted me with a wagging butt and full body jumps for joy!  There's nothing like it!  Even my kitty Midnight seemed happy to see me.  (It's harder to really know with cats! ha)   As I type now, Midnight is sitting on a stack of newspapers on the table right next to my computer.  He's content to lay near me, and I am sure he hopes I will occasionally reach over and pet him.  Oh, okay...

* My back feels great right now!   Vacation did it good I guess.  So now, I plan to try and golf this Thursday with my lady friends.  It's been too long, and I have missed seeing them.   I also need to do some yard work...  vines need to be cut back, weeds pulled out.  So, pray for me that I can get back into my routine life and keep my back strong.   I'm off to the chiropractor this morning for an adjustment....it does seem to help me.

* Every Lakeside week with family is a different mix of people and events.  This year we had a busy first part of the week, and then a quieter second half.  Still, each year is an important get-together  because it's one of only a couple of times each year when we all make the effort to meet up at the same place, same time.   Some things change each year but the importance of family time at Lakeside has not. 

So, I'm back now - and got some of the laundry done, some of the house cleaned, some of the routine in my life back.  There's a good feeling in having normalcy back too.  It's all good.    And, that's all for now! 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

It's a tradition.

I leave on vacation tomorrow.  Ok... I know I'm not supposed to write about trips prior to going because internet stalkers can come steal things while I'm away.  Well, for those who are reading this and want to rob me, my hubby and fierce watchdog will still be home...so don't even think about it (said with a Jorsey Sopranos accent.)

I am packing and preparing for the annual week with my family.  Every year it's different in that we have a different mix of family members who are able to take off the week from work and attend.  We have had a few deaths over the years - and blessedly a few births too!  So our numbers have changed.  Same for this year.  We have had a strange start to this year and to tell you the truth it's going to be another "different" week for those together.

Dad, the patriarch, went into the hospital on Tuesday and he's still there.  He was losing blood, but the docs think they found an ulcer and were able to fix it. He needed several pints of blood. (Thank you anonymous donors.)  He's not a young man anymore and he's still extremely tired, and may need more blood.  Actually, he's been tired for years now.  Chances are he won't be at Lakeside with us, and in HIS cottage (that he built.)   My sister is healing from a broken leg and is doing much better but she is still limited in movement,  she tires easily, and has to catch up on missed work.  My brother had a case of pnemonia recently and he's still not 100 %.    I'm realizing this "getting older thing" is not fun.  I'm also realizing that family descriptions change.  The week each summer may not change, but how it all comes together, and who can attend it does.  Will it soon become the next generation planning the week?  And will they?

We'll have a good time next week - doing our usual:  church at Hoover auditorium, a bratwurst cookout, shopping the little stores in Lakeside, making a few crafts, and playing games and drinking wine in the evening. We'll still do a dinner out at Mon Ami, and maybe we'll take an afternoon and go to Kelly's Island or Put-in-Bay.

The interesting part is that over half the people attending all live in the Carolinas - and see each other during the year often!   Is there something wrong with this picture? ha!   I look forward to "hanging out" with any of my family that can attend, don't get me wrong... and I know the tradition continues for now.

So, here we come Lakeside!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Tuesday means Hodgepodge time.

Last week was a crazy week and I had a hard time remembering what day of the week it was, but thankfully the Hodgepodge questions always arrives on Tuesday.

So, here they are, along with my answers.

1. What's something people might ask you for help with? 

Seriously, I know a little bit about some things but I'm the master of nothing.  So, this is a tough question to start with today.  Therefore, I suppose people may ask me for help at times when they need an extra hand. I'm "willing and able" to jump in and assist.   Really, I can't think of a thing that I can offer knowledge on...   that's sad.

2.  What's something you might ask someone else for help with? 

I'm rather independent so I don't go asking for help too often.  Of course I rely on my hubby to give me advice and to share in duties of our marriage and household.   I consider us a "team."

3.  Did your family take summer vacations when you were a child?  If so, where'd you go?  If you are a parent,  did/do you plan summer vacations with your own family?  Did/do they resemble those you took as a child? 

When I was growing up our family took a vacation each summer.  We traveled by car - pulling a Shasta trailer.  Some summers we went off to new campgrounds in new areas, but we always spent one week each summer at Lakeside, Ohio. Lakeside is a chautaqua town - which means it is Christian-based and has religious and family activities in season.  There were (and still are) Bible studies, lectures, vespers in the evening - and also mini-golf, tennis, shuffleboard, a large park, walking paths, movies, nighttime entertainment in the auditorium, etc.   It has become the place for our family to meet each year for a reunion.  So, each summer still, as many family members as possible still try to meet up there.  I leave Friday for our annual week together.  Yes, my daughters try to go each summer too (but it depends on work schedules - it was easier when they were little). When our girls were growing up hubby and I also took them on some memorable family trips - just the four of us. Great times!

4.  Pool - lake - ocean... which is the most appealing on a hot summer day? 

On a hot summer day I have to say a pool is the most appealing!  I think the water is very refreshing and I love to float on a raft.  I don't like swimming in the ocean (too many slimy things floating by like legs) and I like the lake & the rivers for boating.

5. Have you ever justified this expression, "you gotta be cruel to be kind"?  Was it necessary or were you rationalizing? 

I have never wanted/needed to use the expression - or taken that kind of action.  Wait. I take that back. I'm sure there have been times when I have said something to a person that sounded rough to them because I felt it was for their own good in the long run.  I also understand the "tough love" approach some parents have to use on their children when nothing else works.  I do think it should be a last ditch effort though.

6.  The Journal of Psychology recently listed results of a survey identifying the ten most hated foods as - liver, lima beans, mayonaise, mushrooms, eggs, okra, beets, brussel sprouts, tuna, and gelatin.  Of these foods, how many do you actually hate?  Anything you'd add to the list? 

Hate is a pretty strong word! ha!   I am definitely not a fan of liver, beets, and brussel sprouts. Don't put them on my plate!!!   I actually love mayonaise, eggs, and mushrooms.

7.  What's your favorite book or movie set in a beach or lake town? 

I can't limit it down to one book or movie.  But, "Jaws" has got to be up high on the list for movies.  When it first came out it was so real, so exciting, so scary!  Well acted.  Well directed by a young Stephen Spielburg.   I read many books that take place in a beach town because I live in an area that has many authors and they  use this area as the book setting.  Dorthea Benton Frank lives an hour down the road, and all of her books are "formula" summer beach reads, but still very enjoyable.

8.  My random thought. 

I'm off to Lakeside, Ohio next week so I will miss the Hodgepodge.

Have you been watching the Zimmerman trial?  Or keeping track of the testimony?   I think Zimmerman will get off because there is not enough evidence to show he didn't fire in self defense.  But, it really saddens me that the young man's life was taken by someone who took the law into his own hands and carried a gun.  Trayvon Martin would be alive if Zimmerman did not get out of his truck and did not have a loaded weapon.   Tragically sad.

Take care blogging friends!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

An Independent blog!

Even as I am getting ready to celebrate Independence Day this week, the Hodgepodge post happens!  It's a busy week, but I enjoy the questions, and like to think about subjects that might not always pop into my mind.  So, thank you Joyce -  and here it is - Happy 4th of July to all Americans! Celebrate this amazing home we share!

1.  What's one simple pleasure on your summer "to do" list? 

I think I am looking forward to spending the day out on the boat and going to one of the barrier islands to shell.  Usually by this time we have taken the trip, and we had hoped to go last Saturday.  But, this crazy weather has made it impossible to "chance" a long day on the water.  We have had so much rain, and pop-up thunderstorms.  It's too dangerous to be away from a port or marina when storms start to brew.

2. Do you have strong feelings or opinions regarding the immigration debate in your home country?  Feel free to share your thoughts, but please play nice. 

I do have beliefs regarding immigration into the USA.  First, most of us reading this blog got here because someone in our family tree immigrated here - from Europe, or the Far East, the Middle East - or elsewhere.  Unless you are American Indian you have ended up here thanks to your ancestors.

In recent times we have had an abundance of people coming into the states due to the horrible situations in their own countries.   Some come for jobs, some for education, some just to live in a place where gunfire isn't flying over their heads.   I certainly can't blame them!  I truly believe we are a "global people" and we need to take care of ALL the people of the world.  There's no pecking order.   It would make sense (in my opinion) to work with leaders in other countries to help make life there in the home countries better - i.e. safer, more food, better living conditions, employment opportunities.  I know our leaders try. Unfortunately politics gets in the way.

At the same time we Americans need to have compassion for the immigrants.  Most come scared, but willing to work, and want to live in peace.  I do believe we need to have a better system for them to be "legit" so they don't have to hide here.  We need rules to follow, and consequences if they are not followed, same as with natural-born citizens.  We ALL should have responsibility, and a shared commitment to living in harmony.  Seriously,  just because my parents were living here when I was born does not make me better than others!

Oh - I could go on...  but best to return to "lighter" questions!  ( :

3. What's something in your home or wardrobe that could be described as "star spangled?"  

I can't think of a thing in my home, but I suppose I have a couple of "flashy" tops for fancy evenings out.  But, really not much.  I'm not a spangly, glittery type! ha

4.  Is your house set up for a party? 

For this week?  It's getting there.  We are expecting a lot of people here for the few days over the 4th.  So, I'm cleaning now.  Preparing.   Yes, we have room for partying!  We also have a "riva cabin" about 30 minutes away and that's where we & our 28 or more people will be hanging out on the 4th.  We plan a big cookout, games (volleyball, cornhole, darts, etc.), boating, and then heading out to see fireworks.   I sure hope the rain stops!!

5.  What one never-before-visited city in America would you most like to see?

I have been fortunate to see a lot of the big ones!   I'll say New Orleans.  But I think I'd like to go in their "off-season" when it's not as crowded so I could enjoy the music, the restaurants, etc.

6.  Your favorite red food?  White food?  Blue food?

Red = tomatoes.  White = vanilla ice cream.  Blue = Is there anything blue besides blueberries??

7.  What freedom to you value the most, and why? 

Well - you are reading my blog...  so I have to answer with freedom of speech!   Americans are so lucky to be able to voice their opinions without fear of the gov't coming after them.  We are blessed to say what we feel and what we believe.  We can tell others about our religion and faith, about our  hopes and dreams, about the times we see injustices, and want change.  

8. My random thought. 

Seriously, we are ALL so fortunate to live in a country with lots of freedoms,  and it is still a place with a community feeling.  We live in a country where people respect the fellowman who also wants to live in peace while enjoying all the beauty around.  The news/media today focuses SO MUCH on the wrong things in America and on the disagreements between politicians.  We may have different ideas on ways to achieve happiness and peace - but it's what we all want.

Happy Independence Day!  Be safe traveling.  Enjoy family and friends!  And, thank God for all our blessings!!