Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Celebrating things we do that are a "labor of love."

Happy Hodgepodge!  Here we go...

1.  Labor Day weekend is approaching...what's something you've labored over this year?

Anything I have done has certainly been a "labor of love".  I have worked on our "riva-side" cabin and in my garden, and I have worked on the baby layette program for our local hospital.  I enjoy the physical labor out in my yard, planting flowers and pulling weeds. I enjoy the creative labor of putting together the baskets of baby essentials for new needy moms.  I also enjoy the mental labor of crosswords and "Words with Friends". 

2.  What is one word to describe your 'job' or career?

How about two words?   Eclectic doer.    (I do a variety of things, all very different - but I enjoy them all and hope that I am making a difference.)

3.  What was your worst or least favorite job ever?  Why?

I think I have written about this job before.  It was when I took a radio sales position for a station in Norfolk, VA called WRAP.  It was in the late 80's and it was when rap music was just becoming a genre of it's own.  I had just moved to Norfolk, and had been working in radio in Baltimore,  so I saw the job listing in the newspaper, went and applied, and got the job.  Here was the problem:  I was a blonde haired, white woman going into places that serve African-American radio audiences.  I felt uncomfortable on so many levels...I had never sold radio time before (commercials) and had never put together a sales package, and I had never listened to rap music, and I had never shopped in the places I made calls on. 

I quickly found that I was not cut out for the job, and as it turns out my hubby took a new career move that transferred us to California.  So, my days at WRAP came to an end quickly.  Phew.

4.  How do you measure contentment?

Good question.  Contentment is a state of mind.  Perhaps it's a lack of stress, and a lack of desire for more...and a feeling of happiness  - all rolled up in one. 

5.  Pickles - like or dislike?  What's something you eat that requires a pickle? Dill, bread and butter, sweet gherkins... what's your favorite kind of pickle?

For many years I could take or leave pickles but lately I have had a renewed interest! (No, I'm not pregnant. ha)  I like the thin sliced dills on most lunchmeat sandwiches, and I enjoy relish on burgers.  I like relish in tuna salad too.

6.  In your current house - town - state, what is it you like living close to?

Easy answer.  The ocean.   I just was at the beach yesterday evening for a loggerhead turtle nest inventory (counting the hatched eggs) and this morning took my doggie out for a walk on the beach.   I'm not one to sit in the heat of the day there - with all the vacationers. I enjoy the mornings and evenings on the beach.

7.  What is one thing on your 'want to do' list before summer draws to an official close?

Last summer we boated down to a barrier island and collected a great many conch shells and we have yet to do that this summer.  I doubt we will go before the official end of summer, but thankfully September here is gorgeous so I hope we can make a day trip down before cooler weather arrives. 

8. My random thought...

I am always a bit sad at the end of summer, but to keep myself thinking positive I happily welcome the start of football season.  The South Carolina Gamecocks take the field for the first game this Thursday at 6pm and I root them on!!  I enjoy all SEC football and watching the pros.  Do you have a favorite team?  It's always fun to know who others root for, and to have a friendly fan competition. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

It's about time...

It's Tuesday, so it's Hodgepodge question day.  I answer the questions here on my blog and share them on Facebook, and also on host Joyce's blog site on Wednesday.  I enjoy reading all the other bloggers' responses.

Here we go...

1.  What's your worst food memory?  How about one of your best? 

My worst childhood food memory is when I was on a camping vacation with my family as a child.  We used to travel in a 16 foot Shasta trailer and stayed at parks and campgrounds.  Our family had gone out to dinner and I ordered and ate ALL of a large plate of fried onion rings.  It took awhile for them to sit in my stomach and then decide to come back up -  so it happened during the night.  Since I was the youngest/smallest in the family I slept in a hammock that hung over my parents bed, and my brother slept in a hammock beside me.  Camping trailers are pretty tight!   As I began to get sick my brother reached from his hammock into the kitchen cabinet and pulled out bowls for me to use...since I couldn't get out of my tight hammock spot and had my poor parents underneath me.  It took me a long, long time to eat onion rings again!

A good food memory?   I've had SO many!!!  But, when hubby and I were first married we lived in Norfolk, VA and would go to a wonderful pizza place called Orpax's on Friday night after work.  It had the best pizza I had ever tasted!  There was always a long line out of people waiting to be seated because it was so tasty, and so popular!  Hubby and I were in our late 20's so we could "gorge" on many slices and we truly had a pizza fest!  This was the first place I ever saw pizza with real tomato slices baked right into the pie.   It was deeeeelicious!

2.  Do you appreciate people telling it like it is, or would you rather a speaker temper his/her words and maybe beat around the bush a little?  How about when you're the one communicating?  

Oh, what a good question!   I do NOT appreciate people being blunt and often cruel when communicating.  There are ways to express an opinion or to tell someone something with finesse and kindness.  I don't know if I would call it "beating around the bush" but more just having a sense of how to serve it up without being forceful and sounding holier than thou.  Can you tell this is something that gets to me?   ha!   It does!   As for me, I do my best to avoid controversy and to be accepting of everyone, so yes, I temper my words whenever I can.

3.  What's your favorite place to hang out? 

Dorothy said it best:   "There's no place like home!"

4.  When do you feel like a slave to time? 

I rarely feel like I'm on a tight time schedule these days.  I know, I'm blessed.   In the past I felt like a slave to time when I was a mother and chauffeur to my daughters, especially during the middle & high school years.  I worked my schedule around when and where they needed to be...for music lessons, church meetings, and school activities.  I was happy to do it!!  Don't get me wrong.  This was the time when I discovered it made sense to bring a book with me everywhere I went.  I did a lot of sitting and waiting - and reading!

5.  What was the last concert you attended?  Who'd you go with?  Was it good? 

The last concert was to see Peter Noone (of  Herman's Hermits fame) in concert at Hoover Auditorium in Lakeside, Ohio.  It was about a month ago and I was there with my family, on our annual reunion/vacation together.  Lakeside is a chatauqua town and has daily and night family entertainment during the summer season.  They often get musical acts from an earlier era - but that's okay.  They are still wonderful!  I always enjoy going to a concert!

6.  Reality TV...harmful or harmless?  What's your guilty pleasure when it comes to reality TV? 

I think reality TV can be both.  There are some reality shows that are just silly, and then there are some that are into showing people disagreeing & fighting, or doing stupid things.  My favorite reality show right now is "Duck Dynasty" because it truly is about a family that gets along, that makes jokes, and that cares about their children.  I love that they end each show having a family meal together and praying.   If I'm flipping channels and come across "Say Yes to the Dress" I'll watch it too.  I'm pretty tired of all the Housewives shows.

7.  What's something you think is overrated? 

Starbucks.  Give me Dunkin Donuts anytime!

8. My random thought. 

With so many schools starting this week I just want to take a minute and thank the teachers out there!  I know a few on Facebook and I see some pinning ideas on Pinterest, and I just love the devotion so many teachers have for their students!  I know teachers put up with a lot of paperwork and other stuff that gets in the way of caring for the kids and teaching them what really counts.  So cheers to the teachers out there who start the school year off with hope and enthusiasm - and are in the profession to make a difference!!!  I applaud you!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Birthday tribute time

Today is August 15th - which means tomorrow is my friend Sue's birthday, and then the next day (the 17th) is my sister Sue's birthday.  They are two very important people to me and just happen to have birthdays back to back.

Today I thought I'd take a few minutes to write a little tribute to my sister as her birthday approaches.  I won't say which one it is but I will say she is my OLDER sister!  ha!  And, she always will be!   ( :

But, you know, when you get to the ages we are in life a few years older or younger doesn't really matter anymore.  It certainly doesn't matter like when we were kids and the 5 year gap seemed huge.  We were always in different schools, and certainly had different friends and interests back then.

My sister Sue was the "path maker" as the oldest of the three of us (brother Mark is in the middle.)  As that, she had the joy/difficulty of experiencing everything first - the first sleepover at a friend's house, the first one to date, the first to drive, the first to head off to college, etc.   She had the job/privilege of testing our parents.  Just how far could she go?  What were the boundaries?   What outfit could she walk out of the house wearing?  ( I listened and learned! ha)

I remember few arguments with our Mom & Dad - okay, I do remember Sue had one yelling match with my mother.  I don't know what it was about, but it didn't happen often in our household. We didn't raise voices to each other as a rule.  I'm guessing it was over her wanting to go somewhere and my Mom said no.   Maybe it was the length of her skirt (or should I say the shortness of her skirt) or how she wore her midi-blouse.  Here's a bit of trivia: Sue attended a public school in East Cleveland that at the time had a dress code that required all girls to wear a sailor-style type of blouse.  I remember Sue had them in different colors - some short sleeved, some long sleeved.  She would use straight pins to pin them to fit tightly at the waist.  For some reason as a goofy little sister I thought that was pretty cool.  

Anyway, my sister went off to college, and then moved away - and I think she only lived back at our house for a short while after that.  I think I can say she made some choices that in hindsight were not the best, but she was headstrong and did them.  That's what an oldest child has to do.  Go out there...  do it.

Each of us kids gave our parents are few gray hairs a long the way!  I took a year off of college between my sophomore and junior years and I'm sure they wondered what I was thinking.   From my perspective they were "cool" about it and didn't lecture.   But, Dad did not have to give us a stern talking to because he gave us the "evil eye" and we knew that was trouble, and that we had disappointed him.

Sister Sue has worked all her life.  Even during her years when raising a young daughter.  I admire that dedication because I know it was hard and there were days when her daughter was sick, or she was sick, and the days were long.  She didn't get much help.  But for years work was also therapy, and a financial AND emotional source of income.

There was a time in her life, almost 10 years ago now, when Sue went from married to widowed - and then she made a move, and her daughter got married and moved... and there were CHANGES with a capital C.   Tough times for anyone.  But, it made her stronger and very self-dependent.  Again, traits I admire in her!  She really became her own person!   She found enjoyment in playing the flute (a renewed love from school days) and made friends through bands, her work, and church.

Now - she's got 2 grandsons and yes, they are a whole new love in Sue's life.  Lucky her!

So, as my sister celebrates this #$#% birthday (with a new bionic plate in her leg! She know is the "flip-flop queen!") I want to wish her a wonderful year ahead - and say thanks for putting up with this annoying baby sister - not that she had a choice! ha   It's true that as we all age, family takes on a whole new additional meaning.  We share genes, and history, and memories...  sad and good times together.  Thankfully, lots of laughs too!

Sue:  Thanks for being my OLDER sister!!!
Love ya!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Thinking about Fall fashions and food...

Welcome blogging friends!  Here are this week's Hodgepodge questions, including one Joyce got from me! I was at the mall last week and saw chevron prints everywhere! (They are the bold zigzag stripes.)  So, I wondered about them on my Facebook page, and Joyce wondered the same thing! ha    Anyway, read on...

Joyce's questions; my answers.

1.  My daughter earned her Master's Degree this past weekend... what's something you've 'mastered' in recent weeks or months? 

First, congrats to Joyce's daughter & her family! I know Joyce is very proud of both of her daughters!

 A tough question right off the bat!  I don't think I have mastered much of anything in life, let alone the past few weeks or months.  I can list what I have NOT mastered:  golf, the flute, cooking, gardening, and even blogging.  I'm a work in progress!

2.  What song most reminds you of your childhood? 

I can't answer with just one song title.  The first song I ever memorized the words to was "Build Me Up Buttercup".  Don't ask me why!! ha  I also remember trying to learn words to other songs and getting lines messed up.  We didn't have Google to quickly pull up song lyrics which I do now.

The other songs would be some church hymns from my youth that I would hear my mother sing.  I especially remember "This is my Father's World" and "Beautiful Savior."

3.  What do you think about single gender groups and/or events?  Should every group/event be open to both genders?  If not, what sort of exceptions do you think are appropriate?  

So, this is one of the things where being "politically correct" has gone too far in my eyes. I see nothing wrong with having single gender groups/events...i.e.  sports teams, book clubs and Bible study groups,  scouting groups, garden clubs, and on and on.   I do NOT think every group should be open to both genders - BUT I think both genders should have every right to start their own group/event.   The only place this issue can get sticky is in a business environment when someone might be left out due to gender, and that is not right because all employees should be treated equally and be given the same opportunities.

4.  What's your favorite spice? Your favorite dish containing your favorite spice?

Well, this question has made me realize that I am not into spices!  I do not have a favorite.  I suppose I like cinnamon and other spices used in pumpkin pies and autumn foods.  Warm, "comforting" smelling spices are my favorites.

5.  Chevron patterns are everywhere!  Do you like it or think it's just a little too much?   Do you own anything chevron?

When I saw the first person wearing chevron I liked it.  But, wooooo...  it's overboard now!  I have this dream (nightmare) of attending a gathering this fall and all the ladies are wearing chevron prints in various colors and pattern sizes - and my eyes going completely crazy!   It's like watching an old TV pattern moving...     ouch!

6. What's something you disliked as a child, but can fully appreciate now? 

To stay with the fashion theme:  how about elastic?  ha!    Seriously tho, I think I was a normal child in that I didn't like church activities (and as a pastor's kid I was dragged to them all), but now I realize the strength and love in a church community.

7.  What can irritate you very quickly? 

Oh my!  I suppose I get irritated when people are out in public and are very rude and self-centered.   I mean, what's the sense?  Why be that way? I have to tell myself that I do not walk in their shoes and don't know their past - but I get scared because I think if they are that rude in public then how are they in private?

8.  My random thought. 

Last Hodgepodge I was anticipating my best girlfriend's visit here.  She arrived and we had 4 wonderful days together - hanging out, talking, sharing our lives, etc.  She is one person who knows just about everything about me (besides my family) and I know about her.  We have gone through ups and downs, single life and marriage, jobs, etc - and now aging.   We don't see each other often but it doesn't matter because we "get each other" and pick right up where we left off.    Isn't it a blessing to have such a relationship?  I think so!

Almost mid-August already!   Crazy!   I don't have little ones anymore and I miss the excitement of "back to school" shopping - getting new school supplies and a new 'first day' outfit!   I think "Back to School" sales are second to Christmas and I feel left out!  ) :

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Hodgepodge time again

It's Tuesday - and Hodgepodge time again.  I really mean to write on my blog more often but thankfully I have the Hodgepodge to get me here at least once a week!

Here are this week's questions, and my answers.

1. The first week of August is National Simplify Your Life Week...what's one thing you could do this week to qualify as a participant? 

I have been on a bit of a cleaning craze the past couple of days since it's been a while and I have some company arriving soon.  Along with cleaning, I am "straightening" and occasionally throwing things away.  So, I think that counts as doing something to simplify my life.  If nothing else, it "frees" my mind from looking at a messy house and knowing I need to do something about it.  I feel better when my house is in order and clean.

2.  It's also National Peach Month...peach pie, peach cobbler, or please pour me a bellini? What's your peach pleasure?

Unfortunately when I had allergy testing done some years ago peaches showed up as something I react too.  Therefore I have taken them out of my diet.  Sad, isn't it?  Especially when I happen to live in the "peach state" of South Carolina!   But, if I were to treat myself and not worry about an itchy mouth, I'd have some warm peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream on top!

3. Eleanor Roosevelt once wrote, "Do one thing every day that scares you."  Agree or disagree...   explain. 

I get where Mrs. Roosevelt was coming from, BUT I do not agree with her statement.  I do not want to live day to day with fear, or anxiety.  I think she made the statement to encourage people to live outside their normal routine (outside the box) as a way to continue to learn and to expand life's experiences.  I get that.  But, no thanks...it's not for me.

4.  What's your favorite household chore?  Yes, you have to name one. 

My favorite chore is vacuuming because it quickly makes a difference.  (Unfortunately my pug does NOT agree and barks each and every time I turn on the machine!)  I definitely like seeing a freshly vacuumed carpet!   Doing the laundry is probably the easiest... and cleaning bathrooms ranks at the bottom of my list of household chores.

5.  Fodors recently listed (what they've dubbed) the ten most beautiful sunset spots in America.   They are:   Butterfly Beach in Santa Monica CA, Mount Haleakala in Maui HI, Old Fort Marcy Park in Santa Fe NM, Santa Monica Pier CA, Gay Head in Martha's Vineyard MA, Ensign Peak in Salt Lake City UT, and Mallory Square in Key West, FL.

Have you seen the sun set from any of these spots?  If you could choose to watch the sun set this weekend from one spot on the Fodors List, which would you choose?  Where's the prettiest sunset you've ever seen? 

I have been to some of the locations on the Fodors List, but not at sunset.  In fact, I was up on top of Mt. Haleakala for sun RISE, not sunset.  Hubby and I were there with a group from his job many years ago and we got driven up the mountain in the dark, saw the sun rise, then biked down the mountain, stopping along the way to see pineapple farms, and have lunch, etc.  It was a fun experience!

Of the places listed, I know West Coast sunsets are awesome over the ocean, but I think I would pick Key West.  I have been there, and I enjoy the place - and I'm an East Coast kinda girl!

I enjoy many gorgeous sunsets right here.  We have a deck on the 2nd story of our house that faces west, and looks over old rice plantation fields.  I gotta say seeing the sun set through some spanish moss in the lowcountry is pretty awesome!

6.  What's your favorite or most use app? 

Definitely "Words with Friends"!  I play with quite a few people, and play everyday.  I also use the Weather Channel app often, checking out the radar for pop-up storms, etc.

7.  We've recently passed the halfway mark for 2013... write a seven word sentence that sums up the year so far. 

I have learned to enjoy each day!

8. My random thought.

I have my "bestie" girlfriend coming to visit tomorrow for a few days.  We met in college, and became apartment roomies once we graduated.  Then jobs, and men, and families separated us geographically - BUT we have remained always in touch through the years.  We see each other only once a year now but we pick right up and enjoy time together when we do get together.  Do you have a friend like that?  It's a life blessing!