Tuesday, October 29, 2013

It's ALL about Halloween.

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

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

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

2.  What's your favorite treat of choice? 

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

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

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

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

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

5. When did your heart last skip a beat? 

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

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

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

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

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

8.  My random thought. 

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

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Interesting questions. Serious thoughts.

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

This week's Hodgepodge questions and my answers:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4.  How are you affected by the changing seasons? 

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

5.  Scariest book you have read. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

8.  My random thought.  

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

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

It's Hodgepodge time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7.  Share a favorite fall memory.  

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

8.  My random thought. 

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

Have a good week!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Time marches on....

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Was it a gift and a sign from heaven?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do you think?   Do you believe?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The good and the bad.

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

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

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

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

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

3.  Is open-mindedness a virtue? 

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

4.  How often do you weigh yourself? 

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

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

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

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

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

7.  Have you started your holiday shopping yet? 

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

8.  My random thought. 

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

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Welcome to October!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8.  My random thought.  

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

Have a good week friends!