Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The LAST Hodgepodge of 2014

Hello blogging friends - and Facebook friends!

This is the final set of Hodgepodge questions for the year!  Goodbye 2014. It's been an interesting year on this blog site, with the meeting of minds AND the accepting of differences among friends.   Let's see what this last Hodgepodge brings.

PS: It is the last for this year but it will be back!   There will not be a Hodgepodge next week as Joyce, our leader, celebrates her daughter's wedding!  I can't wait to hear about it and see many pictures!!  Congratulations to the bride and groom and the families!

1.  Share a favorite moment from your Christmas holiday celebration.

Well, on Christmas Eve we put on the camo pajamas that my husband got us all -  head to toe flannel with footies.  I am guessing we will not wear them again for a long time - if ever!  My daughters and I got pink cammy jammies.  Hubby and fiancé got green ones.  I suppose the guys could wear theirs out if they decide to do some duck hunting!  lol

2.  What would you say has been the biggest news event during your life so far? 

When I first read this I thought the question was about the biggest news event of the year.   But…no!  It's the biggest event of my life so far and... I have lived a long time!  So, I don't think I can narrow it down to ONE news event.   Here are a few:

* Genius kids in a garage create a computer     * Kids figure out way to share info from computer to computer - via the internet!   *  Civil rights movement in 60's - and we are still trying to create equality.  Although one EVENT might be  * man on moon.  I think everyone was glued to TV watching it.   Did it make a difference?  Perhaps not.    I prefer to better this world we already live on.

3.  The Pantone color for 2015 is Marsala.   What say you - like or no like?  Would I find this color anywhere in your home or wardrobe?  Will you add something in this shade to either? 

Well, my first question is:  what color is Marsala?  For those of you like me who didn't know, it's a terra-cotta, or earthy red…  perhaps with a bit of plum in it.

I googled it to see the color  - which takes me back to Question 2.  Thank you to those kids in the garage!  

I like the Marsala color.  I have similar colors in my house.  I have a deep red, or brick red, wall paper in my kitchen… and I use this same color as an accent color (pillows and such.)  I don't think it's exactly "marsala" but close.   In my wardrobe?  I have a couple of deep red tops and in fact I bought a top not too long ago that is almost reddish purplish.  Perhaps it qualifies as marsala?

4.  Would you rather meet your ancestors or your great-grandchildren.  Explain why.

I would certainly like to meet my ancestors - and thank them!  I would love to learn more about them, and their experiences. I'd love to hear their stories about living in Germany, and about how and why they came over to America.  I'd love to learn about their thoughts for the future (now).

We cannot escape our genetics and our history.  I'd love to know more about it!

5.  Share one life lesson learned in 2014. 

A personal life lesson?  At first I was going to say I am getting to the age where it's hard to learn NEW life lessons.  But, maybe that is just it!  My life lesson is to accept aging and try to continue to age gracefully.  My hubby turned a milestone birthday this past year - and I'm only 2 years behind him.  When we married 30 plus years ago we never really thought about ourselves at this age.  (Who does?)  But time goes by. And, thankfully, the years have been good.  But, the life lesson is that we can not stop it as much as we'd like to and that we either have to accept aging gracefully or be miserable.

6.  What was your best or favorite purchase of 2014? 

Hmmm.  In general I try not to think about the material things… but I suppose technology has certain been a plus. This past year we have updated our iPhones and computers.

7.  What is ONE thing you are looking forward to in the new year? 

Easy answer!  Like Joyce, I am preparing for my first daughter's wedding!  My daughter will marry April 25th and so we are really into the planning mode now!  It will be beautiful - exciting - and probably over way too quick!  That's what everyone tells me.  Months of planning goes into one day that whirls by so fast!

But I can't wait for the joy of the day and to see so many friends and family members - AND of course, to see my daughter marry a wonderful man!   I'm so happy for them!!!

8.  My random thought. 

With the year coming to a close, I think my random thought should be about making resolutions.  Do you make one or more each January 1st?  If so - how long do you stick with them?   I tend to start the new year off with positive thoughts…about taking care of myself, and helping others.   If I'm too specific I get disappointed.   I prefer to think about ways to make each day happy and worthwhile.
How about you?

H A P P Y    N E W     Y E A  R   !!!!!!

See you in 2015….

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas, the end of the year, and weddings - a few favorite things.

We are getting closer to Christmas... and to the end of 2014.  There are only a few more Hodgepodge questions for the year.  Then in January, our leader Joyce will be focusing on her daughter's winter  wedding - as we here in the Fabian family will also be getting geared up for Lauren and Ryan's big day in April.

The questions today have a bit to do with all of it...     so, read on.

1.  Time Magazine has selected the Ebola Fighters as their 'Person of the Year' for 2014.  Do you agree, and if so who would you say is a close second?  If you disagree with their choice, who do you think should have been chosen?

I believe the doctors and nurses who treat Ebola rightly need to be acknowledged.  And, I like that Time Magazine picked a people who make a positive difference in our world.  Because, I suppose they could have picked someone or people who were negative but life-changing none-the-less.   The news outlets tend to zero in on the bad and the wrongs of our country and the world.  So, yes, I am pleased with the magazine's choice.

A close second?   I continue to like the new pope.  But, was he recognized last year?  Guess I need to google who Time picked last year. 

2.  With weddings on the horizon, here are some good questions!    What's your favorite something old?  Something new? Something borrowed?  Something blue in your home?

Something old?   (Not someONE old??! ha!)   I am not a big collector but I do have a few things that have sentimental value.  I treasure a few Christmas ornaments that my children made when they were small. 

Something new?   As much as I hate saying it, I think my favorite something new is my Iphone.  I use it all the time. Yesterday I accidentally left the house without it - which is rare - and I felt so disconnected!  

Something borrowed?   Tougher question.  Got to get back to you on it.   If I borrow something and then love it, I go get one myself! 

Something blue in my house?   It's definitely my blue comfy sofa in our living room.  The dogs and I share it and you can find me with them on it each and every evening! 

3.  Fudge - yay or nay?  Your favorite flavor?  Do you make it yourself?  With nuts or without? 

Who doesn't like fudge??   I mean REALLY?!!   Yes, I like it but I rarely eat it.   Calories.  Too sweet.  It's only for special occasions.  My mother used to make it from scratch in a big ole heavy iron pot, keeping the temperature just right. I have made it using a much easier microwave recipe.   It's been a long time though.    I like it with AND without nuts!
4.  December 17th is Wright Brothers Day,  commemorating the first successful flights made by Orville and Wilber Wright in 1903 in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.  How old were you when you made your first flight? Do you like to fly?  Have you ever been to Kitty Hawk or other parts of the Outer Banks? 

I flew for the first time during my freshman year of college, which was in 1975.  I flew from Columbus, Ohio where I was going to Capital University back to my parents home in Baltimore, Maryland for Christmas vacation.  Do I like to fly?   Yes, IF it is a smooth flight - with little turbulence and no weather issues!  You can't beat flying for getting somewhere quickly - again, if there are no problems and delays.   Flying today has become more challenging due to luggage regulations and the like.  I'm not a fan of being squished into a seat, sitting close to others I don't know - who may be sick.   My hubby flies almost every week for business and handles it all pretty well, but as a "frequent flyer" he has earned some perks that make it bearable.

I have never been to Kitty Hawk, and thinking back I don't even think I have officially been to the Outer Banks.  I have been along the coast of parts of NC...and have been on the coast of VA and MD.  I live on the coast of SC.  

5.  Do people in your family tend to follow a particular career path, and if so what's the path? 

No doctors or lawyers in my family.   I would say we are all over the board when it comes to picking a career - we have a teacher, a tax accountant, a businessman, a pastor, a pharmacist, a medical ITer, a salesman, etc.  I used to work in radio before becoming a homemaker and volunteer.  So, we have all done our own things.

6.  What's one thing you absolutely must accomplish today? 

I have a hair appointment at 1:30pm.  I made it a month ago knowing that my beautician/magician would be busy the days before Christmas.  I must go today to get my roots back to "natural blonde"!  

7.  This Christmas I hope __________ .

This Christmas I hope everyone travels safely and celebrates the birth of Jesus at church, amongst family and friends.

8.   My random thought.

Yesterday was my birthday....  and I wrote a little post (right before this one) about how wonderful hearing from friends and family on Facebook is.  I know many people fear Facebook or think it's silly, but I really enjoy my Facebook connections and there is no better feeling than hearing from people far and near via it.   Thank you for all who acknowledged my birthday! I felt the love!  

Monday, December 15, 2014

Facebook friends

If anybody questions the value of Facebook, become a member of it and have a birthday! 

Today is my birthday and I have received so many, many short and sweet messages, along with some fun e-cards and videos! I'm just an ordinary person that goes through life trying to make the best of everyday.  And, yes, I'm somewhat addicted to Facebook.  I know.  At times I worry that I am on too much and that I am often annoying to my "friends" on Facebook.  They have to put up with ALL my posts! ( Or at least scan on by them.)

But, Facebook has become a way for me to consider things in a positive way, and to share inspirational quotes and stories.  It also allows for sharing funnies and jokes.  Yes, I admit that every once in awhile I vent a bit - and even then someone replies with a sentence of compassion or a little boost when I need it.

So, this little post today is a BIG thank you to my Facebook connections, far and wide.  Some are family, some are friends, and a few are blog friends that I have never met yet face to face.   You all are important to me and help make my world go round!  You bring me chuckles, and pass along advice, you "like" my comments, and take a look at my pictures.  You laugh at old TBT photos and accept my difference of opinion, be it religious or political.  Sometimes we agree! 

Thank you, thank you!  You all make having another birthday so much easier to accept!  I appreciate all your posts! I love our connection!

PS:  Where am I going to post this?   On Facebook - of course. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Christmas - of course!

As we get closer to Christmas most of the Hodgepodge questions have to do with it, and that makes sense. But our leader Joyce threw in one question - number 6 - that doesn't apply.  Or does it?     Got you wondering?   (It's a teaser.)   Keep reading to find out.

1.  What is one new holiday tradition you'd like to establish, or one you've established recently, say in the last year or two? 

Well, if you have read my past blog posts you know I have trouble with a lot of the commercialism of Christmas, so perhaps I would like to make Christmas more about the birth of Jesus.  I get a bit upset when I think about how the "holiday" Christmas has become a money-making event in the US, with little regard for the Christ in Christmas.

I try each year to focus on the birth of the baby Jesus.   I know it's also a wonderful time for family and friends to get together and share food, laughs, gifts, etc.  

I guess my new tradition is to find a way each Christmas to give - and not just family gifts.  But, something out of the ordinary.  It's also the end of the calendar year so it's just a good time to give to people who have needs, and to give them a bit of help before the new year starts.  

Did I answer the question?   Not really.  

2.  It's the second week of December.  Have you sipped a cup of eggnog yet this month?  Wrapped a gift?  Opened a gift?  Kissed someone under the mistletoe?  Lit a candle?  Eaten a Christmas cookie? Seen Santa in person?  Watched a Christmas movie or special?  Read scripture relating to the birth of Jesus? 

Wow! Lots of questions wrapped in one!   So, okay… here goes…

* I do not enjoy the taste of eggnog.  So, no, I have not sipped any yet and will not during the Christmas season.  * Yes, I have wrapped some gifts already.  I like to do it in bits and pieces so I am not overwhelmed right before Christmas. Plus, I like to have a few wrapped gifts under the tree.  * I have not opened a gift yet.  * We don't have any mistletoe hanging here, but perhaps I should get some!    Ooh la la!!   * I lit an evergreen-scented candle last evening here at home.  We have an artificial tree so I enjoy "faking" the aroma with a candle! *I have not eaten a Christmas cookie yet.  I'm trying to stay away from sweets for as long as possible!   * I have not seen Santa.   * I watched the CMT Country Music Christmas Special last week.  I enjoyed it very much!  I also was flipping channels and came across "Christmas Vacation"  so I HAD to watch it!  I love that movie!  I still hope to see "White Christmas" with Bing, Rosemary, Danny…and ?  What's the other "sister's" name?  I LOVE LOVE LOVE that movie!     *  And, yes, I have read/listened to scripture regarding the foretelling of the birth of Jesus - at the Tuesday Bible Study, and at Sunday morning worship.    Might I suggest everyone do that?

3.  Do you think it's better to be an adult or a child at Christmastime?  Explain. 

Well, this is not an "either or" answer.  Being a child at Christmastime is awesome, but much more selfish.  It's about receiving gifts. But, also singing about the baby "Away in the Manger".   And, dressing up to be an angel in a pageant, and staying up late to see the Christmas tree lights.    But, Christmas as an adult has much more meaning.  Giving gifts and giving love plays a key role.  And, just understanding the importance of that baby "away in the manger."    So, Christmastime came be wonderful whether a child or adult.   But let's not forget, not to be Debbie Downer, it can also be a very tough time too…  probably more for adults.

4.  It's often said "Good things come to those that wait"…agree or disagree?  Why? 

Hmmmm.    Well, I think the expression is useful in today's society when we want everything NOW, and we expect good to come back to us when we give it.   But, sometimes it is not true.  And, you can't just sit around, do nothing, and wait.  You have to be pro-active.  And, you have to - pardon me for using another expression - but you have to learn to make turn lemons into lemonade.    So - it's not just about waiting.

5.  What's the last sweet thing you baked?  Did you keep it, take it to a party/event, or give it away? 

I have said this before - cooking and baking are not my favorite things to do.  I used to bake a bit when my daughters were still home, but even then it was simple recipes.  I rarely made anything from scratch.   Thinking back, it's been a long time since I have made a sweet thing in my oven!   Hubby and  I don't need them - and I don't trust my skills (or lack of them) to bake and share.  

6.  I heard an actor talk about how he makes a conscious choice to talk to people in elevators.  He chooses to connect, make eye contact, and converse.  Do you talk to people/strangers when you're in an elevator or any other place where you may have to wait together?  Why or why not? 

First, let me say - I live in the south!  People/strangers talk to each other much more here than in other parts of the country!  I like that.      In general, as an adult, I think I have always tried to make eye contact when I walk into an elevator and say 'hello' and if I get a 'hello' back then perhaps a conversation will start.  It depends.  But, I like to at least be friendly and acknowledge them.  It's so awkward to be in an elevator and NOT look at them!   The same goes with waiting in a line.  Why not be friendly?   We are all there together!

Here's a question:  Do you like sitting on an airplane with a person/stranger who talks next to you?  Or, would you rather be left alone?   It's another place we are close, but often a wall goes up.    Just wondering…

7.  Are you on the naughty or nice list this year?   What put you there? 

Ha.  I'm on the nice list - and that's where I want to be.    

8.  My random thought.  

I know some people are upset by the demonstrations and all the media hype right now since our country had two horrible deaths happen where police officers were involved.   (And believe me, more have happened.)   But, I still think we need to show respect to our officers and realize that they have extremely difficult jobs to do.  They never know who will approach them, or what will happen to them each day on the job.   I am a white woman so I have never feared a police officer - in fact I feel safer when I see one nearby.     But, I realize that many others in this country are judged improperly and are not given a fair shake.

Peaceful demonstrations are a wonderful way to bring attention to an injustice.  I have no problem with them.  We live in a country that allows them - freely, without fear of prosecution.   I admire those who participate - yes, in PEACEFUL ones.  Once violence happens it's a different thing completely.

Sometimes I think we ALL need to be more peacefully expressive, and we need to be more accepting of those who take part.  

Christmastime is about the baby born so long ago who taught unconditionally about love and peace - and acceptance.   He connected with the down trod, those in society who were shunned, and poor.  Is that not the example we should follow?


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Hodgepodge - a weekly part of my life.

It's Hodgepodge time once again,  so below you will find  the questions with my answers.  Please feel free to speak out too and answer here - or on my Facebook page.  One of the reasons I love blogging is I get to think about these random questions and share them with my online friends.  It keeps my brain working.  It keeps me tuned into life.  How about you?   Give it a try!

1.  What is something in your life right now that feels a little 'hodgepodge'? 

I think it goes without saying (but I will anyway!?!) that this time leading up to Christmas Eve and Day are busy ones, filled with various activities…. it's a bit of a juggling act to do what I WANT to do, to finish projects, to shop, to wrap, prepare music, attend special events, etc. - and still ENJOY the time.  For me, I have to remind myself to take it all in and stay positive.  And, yes, perhaps NOT do it all.  And that's okay.

Did I answer the question?  

2.   What does 'peace on earth, goodwill to men' mean to you? 

A dream!  But, it's worth striving for…. and maybe we won't ever have total peace on earth but we can be examples of living a peaceful and loving life and we can treat our fellowman fairly.  I am a Christian and I believe that God wants us to work for peace on earth, and to treat ALL others with goodness and love. It's a tough thing to do sometimes.  But it's a mandate from Him.   When we do treat our neighbors (down the street AND across the world)  as we want to be treated, we are doing God's work.

3.  Which edible treat are you most looking forward to sampling this December? 

Well, I can't say there is one thing that is a MUST HAVE during December.   Growing up my mother always made sugar cookies and for many years I made them for the holiday too.  Perhaps I will make a batch later this month.  

I try not to focus on food!  It will come back to haunt me!  Ha!!!   I learned long ago - everything in moderation.  And I try to keep to a basic diet, or I will not be happy with myself later.

4.  It's the most wonderful time of the year…   do you agree, and if so why is it so wonderful?  If not, what would you say is the most wonderful time of the year? 

Oh boy…  I can just hear people groaning as they read my answer.   But, hear goes.

For me, NO, it is not the most wonderful time of the year.   Why?  Expectations that I put on myself.   Too many "should do" and "have to" things happen.  And, don't get me wrong, many I am happy with AFTERWARDS, but I stress and worry that I do not live up to everything that needs to get done in December.    

I wish Christmas happened every third year! ha! I think then it would be more joyful for me.   I feel like the year goes by so quickly… and many of the activities become rote and less meaningful perhaps.   I know,  I'm a downer.   Christmas has become such a money making event in our country.  It's so glitzy and commercial.  Every year I struggle with accepting that and seeing people celebrating without ANY connection to the baby Jesus born for us.   It saddens me.

My favorite time of the year?   Springtime.  I feel a connection with nature coming back alive, and I do too.  I love "rebirth" and beautiful flowers and birds singing.   And I love that Spring comes without expectations. It arrives and it's literally a 'breath of fresh air.'

As a Christian I love Easter because there is not as much hoopla before it. In fact, the days leading up to it are somber. It's Lent.  It's reflecting on Christ's life and his death - and then the greatest gift for us - showing that death is not final.

One other note about this spring: my daughter is getting married in April.  We are planning it all and I know it will be beautiful - and I am happy it's a spring wedding.  Again, it's a time of newness and for my daughter and her fiancé it will be the start of  a new life together.

5. What was the last word you looked up in a dictionary (actual or online) and why? 

Thanks to spellcheck and other games I play (Words with Friends in particular) I don't look up words for proper spelling often.  But, because I enjoy doing crosswords I sometimes "google" words or phrases to help me when I get stuck.  I don't consider it cheating - because I'm learning!  ha!!

6.  Besides a Christmas tree, what is your favorite thing to decorate this time of year? 

Back to question #4, because Christmas comes around each year (and the year goes by so quickly) I find I like to "change up" decorations - to keep things fresh.  So, I try each year to think of a different way to decorate outside.   One year I might put colored lights on the bushes - then next I will use white lights, and maybe decorate the porch with them.    I don't like doing the same thing over and over.  

I also don't use ALL my decorations each year.  I have a Dickens village that I put up maybe every third year. It's a lot of work - and takes up space.  It's very pretty once up…   hmmmm.  Maybe this year I will put some of the houses on our fireplace mantle.

7.  Share one thing you've learned (about yourself, people, or anything at all) in the Hodgepodge, or through blogging in general. 

I started participating in the Hodgepodge because I love how the questions made me think and how I can voice my opinion in a thoughtful - and hopefully fun - way.  I never want to offend anyone.  And, at the same time I want to express myself.  

I have learned that the ladies who also take part in the weekly Hodgepodge are from various walks of life, and live all over the country,  BUT  we all give amazingly similar answers at times!   I know I lean more liberal than some, and I think it's a micro-picture of how America is.

I have become friends with a few of the regular Hodgepodge participants and that is special to me.  It's funny I have said in conversation…."my friend Joyce (or another name)"…and yet we have never met face to face.  But I feel I know some of you quite well!

8.  My random thought. 

Okay, this IS random.  And it's just a funny little story.  I bought a new fuzzy green top and wore it Thanksgiving.  We drove up to Raleigh and had Thanksgiving at my daughter's apartment with her fiancé and some of his family.  So, I sat in the car for 3 1/2 hours and started noticing little specks of green on my seat belt, and then on the console of the car.  When I got to the apartment, I started picking off green lint on my jeans and my daughter's couch.  Then a bit later my other daughter had a few pieces of green sticking to  her too!  And, she started sneezing!     oh my!!!  

So, yesterday I took the top back to the store I purchased it from, really just to let them know how miserably it sheds.   They took my name and number but told me to first take it home and wash it…perhaps it will get off the remaining spitball-sized pieces of green.  

So, I have washed it. I  let it dry flat AND then put it in the dryer to pull off the lint.

This story is to be continued…..       will it be wearable now?  Will I leave green lint everywhere I go next time I wear it?  Will people start sneezing around me??!    

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Today starts Advent.

Is your head spinning?   Mine is.  This weekend is always such a change of gears, and such a busy couple of days changing out decorations.  Thanksgiving day is come and gone.  Fall decorations down.  Up with all the Christmas trees and lights!

I wish there was a bigger break between the two.    And, yes, I know sometimes there is. Sometimes Thanksgiving falls a bit earlier.  

But, it seems like it's the only time of year where we stop "thanking" on a dime, and start "preparing" for Christmas immediately.  

We used to take more attention to Advent.  Advent is the 4 Sundays and time in-between, when we turned our attention to preparing for the birth of Christ.  It had it's own decorations…  an Advent wreath with candles, and an Advent calendar to help count down the days.  

One of the reasons (of many) I am glad I attend church regularly is that I still pay attention to Advent.  We have an Advent wreath with candles there, an Advent reading, and our church holds special mid-week services.

It helps me "pace myself" as I get closer to Christmas Day.   It reminds me of what was going on back before Jesus was born - and why he and his parents headed off to Bethlehem.  You know… the horrible order to kill firstborns,  and then "no room at the inn"…     a baby is born in a stable.   Kind of the perfect start to what Jesus taught us all along.   Be simple,  give love.  

So, yes, yesterday I started putting away my fall decorations and our trees are up.  I'm turning my attention to Advent - and then Christmas.  I am trying to remind myself of the word Advent and the necessary time of waiting.  

Therefore, I say….happy First Sunday in Advent to you!  

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Hodgepodge and more.

It's a rainy Tuesday here as I answer this Hodgepodge just two days before Thanksgiving.  So many people are traveling today and tomorrow, and across the US there is some lousy weather…from rain and wind to snow.  I hope everyone reaches their destinations safely - and somewhat "on time"!   I have to admit that I am thankful for not traveling very far for Thanksgiving! I don't do well in cold climates and don't enjoy driving or flying in bad weather conditions.   

1.   Besides Thanksgiving, it's also National Game and Puzzle Week… what game have you played most recently, and who were you with?   Have you worked a puzzle in the past week? 

I have on-going games of "Words with Friends" on my Iphone and I play them everyday.  I enjoy it very much!  I hope it helps to keep my brain strong, plus I get to play with family and friends near and far.  That's the beauty of app games.  You can play regardless of distance.   My hubby and I have 4 or 5 games going with each other, and we can sit in the living room together watching TV, and play on our phones back and forth!    I know -  that's a bit crazy.  

I have written about crosswords before, because I am a bit of junkie for them!   I love playing crosswords out of the newspaper each day!   My favorite is the Sunday New York Times crossword!  Why?  Well, it's not always the most challenging (Friday & Saturday crosswords are tougher), and it's large and in the NYT Magazine - no newsprint ink!    Occasionally I play crosswords on-line and it's okay, but for me it's not the same as holding the actual crossword in my hand.   I feel the same way about reading books.  I prefer the real book, not an electronic one.  

2.  What is one place you are thankful for this year? 

As Dorothy said in "The Wizard of Oz" …..    "there's no place like home!"  I am very thankful for my home!!   

3.  Take a nap, watch football, go for an after-dinner walk, or hit the stores…  which ONE is on your must-do list for Thanksgiving Day? 

Watching football is ALWAYS a part of Thanksgiving Day!   Followed by watching some of the Westminster dog show too!  I love both.      I will say I also enjoy an after-dinner walk.  No nap, and definitely NO shopping for me on Thanksgiving Day.  

4.  Besides Thanksgiving, what's your favorite home cooked meal? 

Whose home?   lol     I don't make many meals these days since it's just hubby and me here, and he's away on business some of the time.  But, back in the day when I cooked more, I think we both loved my "Chicken roll-ups" (also made with tuna)…and I used to make a great chicken dish with an apricot sauce.  I wore out the cookbook "365 Ways to Cook Chicken."  

5.  What product from an infomercial would you most like to own? 

I don't pay attention to them too much.  But if there is one out there that just makes the weight fall off…  I'll take it!     Wait. There is that exercise machine that Christie Brinkley promotes and she looks pretty good at 60+…   maybe it will work for me!  

6.  Christmas shopping?  Have you begun?  Finished?  Will you shop on Black Friday?  How do you feel about stores opening on Thanksgiving Day?  What percentage of your shopping is done on-line? 

Many questions!   First I have definitely started my shopping.  I am not one to wait to the last minute. I have said it before, I try to keep my stress to the minimum if possible!  I never like to do "panic shopping."    Have I finished?   No.  And, I know there will be a few gifts I want to give as December goes along… for some friends, etc. and those I will get later.  

Will I shop on Black Friday?  NO!  I am actually trying to shop this year away from malls.  I am getting gifts from local businesses.  My hubby shops on-line for our daughters.  He loves to get them work dresses, and a couple of "fun" outfits.  Sometimes the girls love them - sometimes they "appease" him and say they love them!  But, he gets joy from buying for them. 

Should retails store be open on Thanksgiving?   No! 

7.  What are you most grateful for that adds beauty to everyday life? 

Easy answer….      nature!     Priceless!   God's gift to us…. 

8.  My random thought. 

I have many random thoughts swirling around my brain this morning.   Some days are like that.

The grand jury decision came down last night in Ferguson, MO and as expected, some people rioted.  I really have more questions about it then my own statements.  Had the media not shown up and did a minute to minute countdown and turned it into a huge waiting game, would it have been as damaging?   I go back to the question from my college mass communications class: does the media reflect the news or make it?     And,  opinions, opinions, opinions!  I really wish all the chatter would stop.  Again, it increases the chances of more negative spotlight action. 

Yesterday I was out running errands and stopped in at a quaint little shopping area near me just to look for a few Christmas gifts.   It really is a lovely area, but I felt SO sad because it brought back to me all the glitz of the season, with none of the meaning of the season; Christ's birth.  I got that "ugh" feeling again and I saw people in action… shopping,  rushing a bit, etc.     Seriously, I really wish sometimes that we dropped all the peripheral "stuff" and could just focus on the Christian event.      I vow to myself every November and December to focus myself on it.    I think we all know that for many people Christmas can be a VERY sad time of the year.  So many expectations.  Some people have little. But, then I think - maybe they are better off.  They don't have to get caught up in the "game" of buying the right gifts, at the right amount, decorating, etc.   

Another thought in my head….  aging.  The good, the bad, the ugly.     I need to exercise! I need to get back into a routine - especially as the season of eating is upon me.   But, I realize I have this little voice in my brain saying "you are old now and you can only do so much.  The body is what it is."    When did this happen?      I never used to think that.    BUT - I do want to look nice for my daughter's wedding in April so I am making a pledge now (and it's once again my New Year's resolution) EXERCISE!!  I must!  It's not just for looks…. it's for health.  Weight control, yes.  But for stronger bones and more flexibility.   I must "get moving" more!! 

Well, the rain is still falling and it's a good day to clean indoors.   Time to end this post.  Thank you to anyone who read through to this point!  MY blog has been my place for putting down my thoughts and today is no exception!

Happy Thanksgiving to you all.  Be thankful - be safe!   

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Got a few dollars in a coffee can!

I am thankful for the Hodgepodge - and on this week before Thanksgiving I am thankful for much more.  Read on.

1. What's something you take for granted, that when you stop and think about it you feel truly grateful for? 

Seriously?  How about EVERYTHING?!?   Don't we all take our lives for granted - and all the blessings in it?   Yes.  But, here's a short list of things I have and don't always appreciate as I should.   A loving family and wonderful group of friends.  A church family who cares for me unconditionally.  A warm house in the winter, cool in the summer.  The ability and means to walk into a store and purchase food, clothing…wine.  ( :    

2.  The color brown - love it or no?  What's your favorite shade of brown?  Most loved something in your house or your closet in a shade of brown? 

In general I am a brown fan.  It goes with just about every thing.  It's a "base" color.  Of all the shades I like a rich warm brown.  I also am liking a very light brown color right now (beige, cream) because my daughter is using the color in her wedding.  She is featuring sunflowers as the "pop" of color.  The wedding will have a rustic, vintage feel - and shades of brown go well with it.

In my house or closet?   Well, we have a Lazy-Boy chair that I really didn't want in the living room, but now that it is it is a "go to" piece of furniture.  It's very comfortable!  Even our pugs love it!

3. What's something you look forward to today? 

Thankfully I have a few things I look forward to doing today.  I am going to "Good News at Noon" Bible Study at church. I love the people there, and I always love the discussions.  Then later I have a flute choir rehearsal and we are preparing for a mini-concert of Christmas songs. We will be performing them next Sunday at another local church and also during intermission of our community band concert which happens in 2 weeks.  After flute rehearsal I have band practice too.

4.  The word 'feminism' is not new, but it has been generating all kinds of headlines in recent days and months.  What do you think/feel when you hear the word?  Do you want to be described as a feminist?  Why or why not? 

Yes, I am a feminist.  I believe in the "power of women" and I encourage all women to support each other.  

I think the term 'feminist' used to have a different meaning back in the 60's and 70's when some out-spoken women pushed for women's rights.  There was a stereotype of who they were and how they looked.   But, without them leading the way, women today would not be where we are.   We still have to stick together for equal pay, equal rights in certain situations, etc.     BUT…  I truly believe women have it over the men!    Yep, I'm a feminist.

5.  What's something you personally can't eat without making a mess? 

Tacos?   Sloppy Joe's?       Anything with white powdered sugar on it….and of course I have on a dark top!

6.  When did you last surprise someone with a little gift or when were you last surprised by someone with a little gift?  What was it? 

My hubby surprises me with little acts of kindness, little gifts of giving.  It can be as simple as picking up something for me at the store.  The other morning we were in a Richmond hotel room, there for his aunt's funeral later in the day,  and he made me coffee and brought it to me while I was still in bed. Sweet!  

I don't know if this counts, but last week when my neighbor's kitty died and she wanted to bury her in the backyard, I  called one of our other neighbors - a man who I knew would be home - to come help dig the hole.  (I'm a feminist but there ARE some things a man can do with his strength that we women can not.) I arranged for him to come over and he did.  We all had a "moment" together sharing our love for the kitty - and being there for each other as friends and neighbors.

7.  Share a favorite quote, saying, song lyric, or scripture relating to gratitude. 

Immediately I thought of a song both my hubby and I like…    called "Lucky Man" by Montgomery Gentry.   I will try and paste the lyrics here:

I have days where I hate my job
This little town and the whole world too
And last Sunday when my Bengals lost
Lord, it put me in a bad mood
I have moments when I curse the rain
Then complain when the sun's too hot
I look around at what everyone has
And I forget about all I've got
But I know I'm a lucky man
God's given me a pretty fair hand
Got a house and a piece of land
A few dollars in a coffee can
My old truck's still running good
My ticker's ticking like they say it should
I got supper in the oven, a good woman's loving
And one more day to be my little kid's dad
Lord, knows I'm a lucky man
Got some friends who would be here fast
I could call 'em any time of day
Got a brother who's got my back
Got a mama who I swear's a saint
Got a brand new rod and reel
Got a full week off this year
Dad had a close call last spring
It's a miracle he's still here
But lord knows I'm a lucky man
God's given me a pretty fair hand
Got a house and a piece of land
A few dollars in a coffee can
My old truck's still running good
My ticker's ticking like they say it should
I got supper in the oven, a good woman's loving
One more day to be my little kid's dad
Lord knows I'm a lucky man
Oh, my old truck's still running good
My ticker's ticking like they say it should
I got supper in the oven, a good woman's loving
And even my bad days ain't that bad
Yeah, I'm a lucky man
I'm a lucky, lucky man

Read more:  Montgomery Gentry - Lucky Man Lyrics | MetroLyrics 

8.  My random thought. 

I just saw on Facebook that it's 36 days til Christmas!   Oh my.   I'm not even in a Christmas mood yet.  (Yes, I know - I'm practicing Christmas music - but I need to!  lol)    But, that's okay.  Remember…   this post is about Thanksgiving!  Let's do one holiday celebration at a time.   I'm wondering.  How many of you put up your Christmas tree BEFORE Thanksgiving?

H A P P Y       T H A N K S G I V I N G    ! ! ! !  

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tuesday's Hodgepodge

It's good to have the Hodgepodge leader Joyce back after a week off.  She's been preparing for her daughter's upcoming wedding and took last week off to aget some things done for it.   I can certainly relate to her needing time, and I can relate to her Hodgepodge questions on the wedding subject - see question #3 today.

Here we go…

1.  We celebrate Veteran's Day in the US of A on November 11th.  When did you last interact with a member of the armed forces (either currently serving or retired)?   Have you ever written a letter to a soldier, bought a meal or coffee for a soldier, said an unprompted thank you to a soldier you encountered out and about somewhere? 

Thank you veterans!  I can not remember a moment when I encountered a soldier and unprompted gave them a thank you.  Shame on me. We did recognize all the soldiers and vets at our church this past Sunday and gave them a rousing round of applause.  A special prayer was said for their safety.   A bit later today I am participating in a VFW ceremony to honor veterans because I am part of our community band.  I am looking forward to it. We will be playing patriotic songs and one piece in particular is a medley of all the armed forces individual hymns.

Last year I designated a month to try and do an act of random kindness each day (I should really keep at it) and my cousin and I paid a good portion of a bill for some NYC police officers sitting at a lunch table near us.

I need to do more in this way.  All men and women in uniform sacrifice and they have such a strong belief in being an active part of our system.   It's very honorable and all veterans need to be thanked!!

2.  You have fifty pounds of anything at all (except money)..  what would you choose? 

oh wow.   50 pounds of food to give to a food bank.  50 pounds of clothing or blankets to give to a shelter.  50 pounds of baby clothes to use in the layette baskets we make for our local hospital.   50 pounds of dog food for the animal shelter.

3.   When did you last receive an invitation in the 'real mail'?  What was it for and did you attend?  When it comes to RSVPing, are you an early responder or a 'last minute, barely under the wire' kind of guest? 

The last invitation that came through "snail mail" was an invitation to my cousin and her significant other's joint birthday party at their home.  It was nice to receive it that way because it did make it more special and seem like more of an "event."  I was able to hang it on the refrigerator as a reminder.  I did attend and had a really nice time!

I know Joyce is asking because she is in the middle of wedding guest lists, sending invitations,  and keeping track of those that come back.   We will be doing the same thing this Spring as we prepare for my daughter's wedding in April.   More on that in question #7.

I am an early responder to RSVP's.  For two reasons:  I like to respond before I forget or lose the invitation!  And I also like to respond early because I know it helps the host get an accurate count of the  number of attendees.

I am not a "wait to the last minute" person with anything in life if I can help it.   It causes me more stress.

4.  What's something you really don't like to waste? 

i don't know why this is a tough question but I am sitting here pondering the answer.   Time?   Well, sometimes wasting time is okay.  We all need to sit back and be still occasionally. We need to pace ourselves.  So, it's really NOT wasting time then, right?

Money?  I tend to think I fall somewhere in the middle when it comes to being frugal vs. being decadent with money.

I am not a hoarder. I don't save every grocery bag, or reuse my Reynolds wrap.  I am an active recycler…paper, plastics, glass.     So - hmmmm.  I'm kinda stuck on this question.

5.  Cheers, Friends, MASH, Seinfeld…  of the ones listed, your favorite long-running sitcom? 

This question is like asking which of your children is your favorite!   All 4 of these TV shows bring back wonderful memories for me.  I loved watching them all! I loved the characters, and humor.  I loved the touching moments (well, I don't think Seinfeld had any of those.)   Each show became iconic in it's own way.   They all end up on my list with earlier shows like the Dick Van Dyke Show, I Love Lucy, the Andy Griffith Show, and the Mary Tyler Moore Show.  Love love love!

6.  What decision are you glad you made. 

Easy answer.  The decision to marry my hubby!   I have never doubted the decision and have no regrets.   We have had awesome years together and have produced two wonderful daughters.  Our life together is comfortable, but each year brings interesting events.    Which leads to the next question…

7.  In this month of thanksgiving, what is one thing that's different today than it was a year ago that you're grateful for? 

Easy answer.  Daughter #1 became engaged to a wonderful guy this past year! I am grateful for them finding each other, and for being so happy together, and for making a commitment to become one, to start a new life together!  I am grateful for being a part of the wedding plans.  I am grateful that we as a family are able to share in the joy! I am grateful for finally getting a son!

8.  My random thought. 

I have a few random thoughts this morning…

* Some days seem uneventful in our lives. But some occasionally come along that are very impactful.  I had one of the latter on Sunday. (You can read my blog post before this one to learn more.)

* The winter weather is really barreling down on some places in the US today.  Stay warm and safe northern friends!

* Regardless of politics or belief in when to be at war and when not to, people who serve our country deserve our respect.  I can never know the fear of being on a frontline or in handling a weapon that can kill.  It's a brave thing, and most do it for love of God, country and family.   Thank you!!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Life and death

This morning I am blogging but I'm not sure where this post is going to go yet.   All I know is yesterday was a sad, rough day and sometimes it helps to turn to my blog to put it down on paper (so to speak!) as I gather my thoughts.

Yesterday was a day about death.   My husband's Aunt Judy died in the morning.  She had been living with Alzheimers and some physical ailments in a nursing facility for a few years so I felt it was "time" for her to leave her body.  It was time for sweet Judy to move on to heaven and be reunited with her sister and other family members already there.   So although I was sad to hear the news it was not a surprise and a bit of a relief.

I am a Christian and a believer of God's hope of life after death.  I saw Judy get baptismed and become a member of her church about ten years or so ago.  I believe she is in God's home now.

While I was at church yesterday morning I was thinking about her.   I knew she was failing.  We had heard from family that her days or hours were numbered.  So, as I have done before, I looked up at the cross behind the altar, and at the stained glass window, and I asked God to let Judy go.  I prayed to Him that she not linger.   About ten minutes after that special moment, my phone buzzed and I looked at who the call was….it was from my hubby's sister.  I knew at that moment it was the news of Judy passing on.

So, okay…  here's the interesting part.  About 6 years ago, on another November Sunday morning, I was again in church sitting in the same spot.   My hubby's mother was in a nursing home and we had gotten word she was failing.  She was getting hospice care.  In fact hubby and his sister were by her bedside.  So, I sat alone in the pew - and I looked at the cross and stained glass window and I prayed that God would go ahead and take Nannie home.   Ten minutes later my cellphone buzzed and it was a message from my hubby.  

Now, I don't think I'm psychic, or weird, or anything else…   but I do believe in the power of prayer and I believe in knowing that for everything there is a season.

My day went on yesterday, and in the early afternoon I decided to put up a picture of Judy and a tribute to her on Facebook.  I know I am addicted to FB and I use it all the time.  Some don't understand that.   I did not think anything of it, and for me it was a way of expressing my love for her.  And, I felt it was a way to spread the news of this dear woman's passing.  Let's just say it backfired and I apologize to those who I may have hurt.  I did not mean to do anything but express my love for the woman she used to be.

Just a bit later on Facebook I also saw a post that my hubby's nephew's wife also lost her Grandmother!  Another death on this same morning.   Again, I was saddened.  I do not know if she was sick or if this was a shock to the family.  I pray that it was not totally unexpected and that the family can celebrate her life.

The same Facebook that got me in trouble earlier - was used as a tribute and way to spread the word an this death.   I took no offense at it.  People responded, and I did.

Deaths come in threes.  Have you heard the expression?

Well,  last night as I was cozy, sitting on my couch and watching football I get a startled loud knock on my door.  There was my next door neighbor, crying, holding her beloved kitty in a towel.   She had just found her, already gone, laying near her porch in her backyard.   A loss of a pet is always sad.  This little kitty girl was an important bit of love for my neighbor as she goes through many changes in her life.  Divorce.  Possible moving.  Sickness.    The kitty gave unconditional love.

At that point I realized that my heart had enough…   it was a rough day.   i saw sadness and hurt. I felt it. I felt helpless.  *sigh*      It was an emotional day.  

I'm up now on a Monday morning. I am praying for peace, and I'm praying for a better day for everyone so affected by yesterday's deaths.    Life is precious.  Memories are forever.    God is there to hear our cries, to give comfort, and to help bring back the joy.  

Take care and give love.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Post Election

There is no Hodgepodge this morning because our leader is taking the week off.  So, I thought I'd take a few minutes since I usually blog on Wednesdays anyways - and write down my thoughts about elections.  Yesterday was the "mid-term" election day all around the country.  We voted for governors, representatives, and lots of local people and issues.

I don't feel all that good about most of the election results this morning.    And, sometimes I feel like I must be really out of touch with what many, many people are experiencing in the United States.  It makes me realize our country is so huge, so diverse, so different from end to end.    I should not be surprised.  I have traveled around the country enough to know the expansive terrain, and to realize that people live very differently from the northeast, to the south, the midwest, and all the way out west.   We are the size of many European countries that have different leadership and different forms of government.

But, even as I narrow my view down to my own state, the state of South Carolina, I see the variety of people:   there are those who live in rural areas, and have lived in the state all their lives. There are people from urban areas, move-ins, looking for warmer climate, and there are those who are proudly ancestors from both sides of the pre-Civil War era.   History is big in South Carolina.

So, all this leads me to say….   I scratch my head at how people think and vote sometimes.  (And, I know they feel the same way about me.)  

I strive to find issues that I feel will make this country of ours more accepting of the differences. I look for and vote for leadership to bring us together, in peace, and to favor our children.

Last week my brother said his number one issue was jobs.  Without all Americans having jobs our society just can not work.  Democracy will not happen.  People will not be able to support themselves, to live freely, and be happy.   I definitely get that.  

So, then, I ask, because jobs are vital then shouldn't education be a high priority?  We need to educate ALL Americans so they can be qualified for jobs.  We need to stress from an early age that learning is a foundation in life.

Second, we need to live in unity and peace.  We need to stop spending money on warring so that we will have funds for caring issues.  Again, it's about the children.   It's also about providing a "hand up" to make ways available for Americans to better themselves.   It's important to show that we care for the suffering and want EVERYONE to have the same opportunities.

As a Christian woman, I believe that Jesus set the example on how to treat others.   He reached out to the dregs of society.  He was not afraid.  He told us to love our neighbors as ourselves.  

Our country was started on those Christian beliefs but it has changed through time.  Yes, we are now a mix of many beliefs now - Christian, Jewish, Muslim, others, and none.  (Bring us your tired and poor.) But as a Christian, when I vote I try to keep in mind what Jesus taught me.   I try to pick people and issues that support unity, not division.  Like I said, I pick a few important issues to me and then check out who running for office who I think will improve everyday life on these issues.

Now the cynic in me, and in so many of us, says it doesn't really matter who we elect.  Nothing gets done anyway.  Or, we say the candidates don't follow through on all the promises they spew when running for office.   Yes, that does happen.    But, I feel we can't live hopeless, and feeling unimportant.  We can't give up on who we elect and what we believe.

So, as another election day has come and gone I wonder if this one yesterday will make a positive difference.   I ask…..  Was it one step closer to making America a better place for the many that need better pay, better medical treatment, better security in old age, etc.  Will we put money into raising good children and in teaching unity and peace?    Will it make any difference?

I voted.  (If you didn't, you can't complain. Right? )    The people I voted for did not get elected.  But, I still have a shred of belief, and a hope for making life a bit better.  I hope and pray that those who did win last night will diligently work for all of us.  I pray they are earnest and that they do not get swayed by lobbyists and forget why they were put in office.  I hope greed and power do not blind them from the real needs.  

Sigh.    It's the morning after an election day.  

Monday, November 3, 2014

Monday Morning Quarterback

The weekend is over and I have a few thoughts…

*  When an airplane is on time and the weather is calm, it's the BEST way to travel!

*  You gotta support a team when they are down.  Sometimes it's tough.  

*  Cold weather is invigorating for about 2 minutes.

*  Sleeping away from home for one night is okay.   More than that I start to miss my bed.

* As I say every year THIS year I am going to focus on the real meaning of Christmas.  Catalogs are going right into the trash.

*  A house without a dog or two is very quiet.

*  Stuffing myself makes me feel horrible.  

* I will vote tomorrow.  I will also be HAPPY to see those candidates' signs come down and for the commercials to go away.

* Visiting family is a mix of emotions.

*  And one-on-one time with hubby is still fun.

* I'm keeping it positive!   Happy thoughts….   happy life!

Have a great Monday and week everyone!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Are you a bird-brain??

It seems that birds of a feather flock together!  So, if you are reading this you are probably a blogging friend of mine.  Or, perhaps you are a Facebook friend popping in to see what this week's Hodgepodge questions are all about.   Read on to see that there is a theme this week.  Joyce, our dedicated blog leader, connected the questions once again!

1.  Joyce's hubby spent last weekend pheasant hunting.  Are there hunters in your family?  If so, what do they hunt?  Which of the following have you tasted - pheasant, rabbit, venison, duck, goose?   Which would you most like to taste, or are most willing to taste? 

Right off the bat, Joyce has a question that strikes a chord in me.  I do not have immediate family members that hunt, but I married into some that do.  And living here in South Carolina, I am surrounded by people who enjoy hunting as a sport, who were raised holding a gun from a very young age.

I did not grow up that way.  So, I have a couple of issues with it.  First, I do not like the fact that SO many people own guns.   I consider them too available, and therefore there is mis-use and accidents and I think it can be "asking for trouble."   Good  and careful hunters lock them up.  I am glad about that.   I also do not understand shooting at a living thing (a creature of God) and killing it.   There was a time in our country's past when our forefathers HAD to hunt to survive, to provide food for them and their families.  But, we do not need to do "survival hunting" anymore.  So, now it's a "sport" and not a necessity.

As for the list of animals above, I do not think I have had any. Maybe duck a long time ago.

2.  What high spot have you visited that gave you a wonderful 'bird's eye view' of something below? 

Immediately I thought about how I had been to the top of one of the twin towers of the World Trade Center in NYC, to a bar and restaurant that used to be there.  It was an amazing view of all of Manhattan, and the boroughs - and all the way to parts of New Jersey.    Of course, we all know what happened to that view.

I have been to the top of other tall buildings - and to the top of a couple of lighthouses. The lighthouses give beautiful views of the waters and beaches.

3.  Do you have any birds in your home?  These could be either live pets or decorative, as in bird prints, knickknacks, fabric, or pottery. 

No real birds here inside! Only outdoors and free!    We have a cabin on the Black River about 40 minutes from here.  On the cabin's screened-in porch I have a small pottery bird.  i also have a print hanging above the couch there that has a bird sitting on a branch.

4.  Tell about a time you 'killed two birds with one stone.'

I can't think of a particular incident, but I suppose I try to do that as often as possible.  Isn't it another way of saying 'multi-tasking'??

5.  Your favorite song with a bird in the title?  

"Blackbird" by the Beatles.   And, who doesn't love "Freebird" by Lynyrd Skynyrd??

6.  What most recently gave you goose bumps? 

This past week, my hubby, my brother, and I took our boat down the Intracoastal Waterway from Pawleys Island to Beaufort.  It was a 6 hour boat ride each way…so we spent the night on the boat in Beaufort!  I got goose bumps when it got chilly and I have skinny legs that look like chicken legs when they get goose bumps on them! ha!!   Attractive - not!    But, it was a lovely trip, and a fun adventure.   So, I got goose bumps from the beauty of nature - and real goose bumps from the chill in the night air!

7.  Halloween is this Friday….any plans?  Did you trick or treat as a child?  Carve pumpkins? Share your most memorable costume. 

First, we have no specific plans for Halloween this year.  We do not get trick or treaters at our home so I think we will go out for a Friday dinner at a restaurant.

Yes, I did trick or treat as a kid!   I'm sure I was part of the pumpkin carving process too, but as the youngest of three I think my older siblings did the cutting, and getting the goop and seeds out of it.  I watched.

I used one of my mother's old fancy black formal dresses as the base for a few costumes when I was a kid.  I remember I used it to be a gypsy…adding a red bandana, big earrings, lots of baubles.     When we three kids were really little we did actually go to the store and pick out the plastic mask and costume that came in the box.  Remember those?    Do they even make them anymore?

8. My random thought this week. 

I am making wine cork Christmas trees to sell at a church festival/bazaar right before Thanksgiving.  I put a picture up on Facebook and already have "advanced orders".  They are a hit!   I ran out of corks and put out a plea for some more, and church members and others have come through for me.  So, now I need to get busy and make more.  Below is a picture of the sample one I made.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Turn, turn, turn...

Hello!  This week's Hodgepodge questions fit the season and are about leaves and things that turn.  Read on.

1.  Elizabeth Lawrence is quoted as saying 'Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn.'  So, have you done just that?  And what did you leave undone in order to do so? 

I have a few local friends who have taken a couple of days off to drive west to the mountains of South and North Carolina.  The leaves are changing there now, and it is more majestic than the change of seasons here along the shore.   As for me?  I have not specifically planned a trip to a region where the fall leaves are colorful, but I will say that whatever the time of year, I take time to sit - to be still - and to watch nature around me.  It keeps life in perspective.  It also brings me peace.  I do not do well being on the run 24-7, and I learned long ago to "stop and smell the roses"…or to stop and watch the ocean waves, or to see the leaves change color.  

Do I leave anything undone?  Not really.  I plan my day to include time of quiet and reflection.  

2.  Since we are talking turning… what's one thing you feel you're doing 'every time you turn around'?

One thing?   Sorry…   got to make a list!   lol      I do a lot of repetitious things each day, like I walk the dogs, do laundry, make the bed, and go to the grocery store.   Little things?  I close a lot of cabinet doors (someone in my house likes to leave them open), and I pick up glasses, spoons, etc. left around the house.  I replace the toliet paper rolls, and I carry out the trash.

3.  How hard is it for you to turn the other cheek? 

Oh wow.  A question that hits home.  In general, I can say I can turn the other cheek easily…BUT, when it comes to loved ones it is harder.   I struggle to forgive and forget.   It's hard for me to let something said to me just slide off my back and I have been known to let words cut through me.  I may hold it inside quietly, but it hurts and I can't just turn the other cheek.  

But, I will say that I do not lash out - and for that I am thankful.  I know words said in anger are toxic.   I would rather stay quiet, walk away….or 'turn my cheek' vs. yelling or being purposely mean.

4.  When did you last turn a drawer,  your car, a room, or your entire house upside down looking for something?  Did you find it? 

Most recently (and not just once) I have had to search for my eye glasses.  I have several pairs that are prescription.  One pair are sunglasses, one pair for everyday life, and one pair especially made for "music stand distance."    I have had lasik surgery on my eyes twice now and each eye's prescription is different, one eye is for up close/reading & one for distance viewing.  But the surgeries were not completely successful.  Thus, the need for glasses.  But, I don't wear them all the time.   Therefore I'm constantly setting them down…. and looking for them.  

5.  'One good turn deserves another'…. were you most recently on the giving or receiving end of that sentiment? 

I like to think I was on the giving end.   I make a point to give whenever I can.  And, I don't keep score.   But, I am fortunate in my life so I am also on the receiving end many times.   This is maybe not the last good turn, but my hubby came home one evening and surprised me, walking in with my favorite chinese takeout dinner.   I had to run to a rehearsal and had not planned anything to eat so it was a perfect gesture.

6. Red, yellow, and orange are the colors of fall. They are also the colors of fruit.  If you were permitted only one color of fruit in your diet, which would you choose? 

Red - red grapes.  I love grapes and keep them around the house most of the time.

7.  The Hunt for Red October, October Sky, Halloween…   which October film is your favorite? 

Well, I HATE scary movies so Halloween is out.   I can't even think what October Sky  is about or who is in it.  So,  I have to go with The Hunt for Red October because I have seen it, and I liked the drama, and I liked the actors.  

8.  My random thought.

Who's with me and ready for the midterm elections to be over???    I am tired of seeing the political signs on every street corner, and major roadway.   It's basically litter and has no meaning.   The commercials are usually stupid and lies too.  Cynical?  oh yes I am.   Okay…one good thing about pre-election time:  it gives Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert - and their writers - endless amount of material for jokes!  

Have a good week everyone.  We are getting ready to turn the calendar page, and the clock too.   These shorter days are rough.   I already miss summertime….        turn, turn, turn.  

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Hodgepodge - Don't cry about it!

It's a rainy Tuesday here as I type at my computer.  I know a major line of storms is coming in a bit later and many across the center of the US have been hit already.  I hope my Hodgepodge friends are all safe!

Here are this week's questions and my answers.  As always, please feel free to play along!

1.  What's your favorite time of day?  Why? 

Right now… early morning time is my favorite time of the day! I love getting up and spending time with my computer and a cup of coffee.  I read updates on FB, and check my emails.  I occasionally post on my blog.    Morning time is my time to plan out my day and make a list of what I want to accomplish.  It's the time I feel my brain is most sharp.  (And, some days I worry that it's not…   lol)

I also read the morning newspaper.  Question:  Do you still get a daily paper delivered?  Or do you get your news off the computer and TV?    I still enjoy reading local news from our newspaper AND I pull the crossword puzzle out each day to help keep the ole brain sharp.

2.  Waffle iron, toaster, coffeemaker, mixer, blender.  Which small appliance would you say most needs replacing in your house? 

Here's the comedy question for the day!  I do not own a waffle iron, a toaster (I have a toaster-oven), or a mixer.  I get a long just fine!  Remember I do not cook much and I do not collect small appliances.   My hubby uses a blender most days for his special vitamin concoction.  And, our Keurig coffeemaker gets used all the time.   Both are rather new.

3.  It's National Grouch Day on October 15th…   What's something that makes you feel grouchy? 

Well I try not to concentrate on things that make me feel grouchy.   Life's too short.  To tell you the truth, back ten years ago or so I was a more grouchy person due to hormonal ups and downs, and anxiety/depression issues.   Now I take my "happy pill" each morning and life is a lot more rosy!   Thank God for modern medicine.

But, what makes me grouchy?   Lack of sleep.    Being stuck inside for long periods of time.

4.  Ever been to Canada?  Is this a country you'd like to visit?  According to Trip Advisor the top ten best destinations in Canada are - Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, Victoria, Calgery, Niagra on the Lake, Whistler, and Halifax.   Which city would you most like to see? 

I have been to Canada several times.  The first time I was a kid on a family vacation and we stopped at Niagra Falls.  Although I don't remember if we actually crossed over into Canada, I'm guessing we did.  I then went to Toronto when I was in my 20's.  Back before being married I worked for a rock radio station and we played music by the band Triumph, and they were Canadians, based out of Toronto.  The manager of the band and I became "friends" (I"ll leave it at that! ha) and I went up one weekend and he showed me all around.

Later, happily married, hubby and I drove up to Quebec City from NJ.  A road trip through New England!  We stayed at the Hotel Frontenac in old town QC and it was lovely!  We were there over July 1st,  which is the Canadian Independence Day, so we saw a parade and everything was festive!

Of the places listed, I think I might like to see Vancouver because people rave about what a cool city it is.  I'd have to go in summertime though!

5.  What was your favorite food (or one of your favorites) when you were a child?  Is that still a favorite?  

When I think of favorite foods from my childhood I think of some of my Mom's dishes…  she made apple dumplings, a tuna casserole with potato chips, and homemade cheesecake topped with cherries.   Yum! I should make them occasionally…  but I don't.   Part of the reason I don't cook a lot is I feel I will eat more and I am careful about my weight.

A favorite food item for me has always been peanut butter.  I loved it as a kid and I still love it now and eat it almost every single day.

6.  Do you cry easily? 

Well, back to question 2….   I used to cry easily.  Especially in my 40's when I was going through crazy hormonal changes and life angst.  I wasn't as happy with myself.   So, I cried too easy.  Here's a secret - I let it out in the shower….   because nobody knew!

Now, I don't cry as much…but I don't have REASONS to cry unless tears of joy!

7.  Have you started your (gasp!) Christmas shopping?  If so, when and how much?  If not, when will you begin thinking about it? 

I have picked up a few things when I am out shopping and see them, and think they would be nice for  stocking stuffers, or whatever.  I put purchases away and revisit them after Thanksgiving.  I am fortunate that my hubby likes to also Christmas shop - especially for our daughters.  in fact, he goes overboard - he always has.  I have another question for my Hodgepodge friends:  when do you cut back on gifts for your adult children?  When they get married… or perhaps when the grandchildren come along?  I mean, I love getting my daughters lots of gifts but there has to be a time when we slide into a nice "couples gift" and perhaps put emphasize on gift giving to the young ones.  Right?

8.  My random thought. 

Do you have a team you are rooting for in the major league baseball championships??   I have always been more into the American League, and have always been an Orioles fan.  I lived in Baltimore for years back in the 80's, back when the O's had some great teams and players.  Once a "bird brain" always a "bird brain".  But, I have Royals fan friends too.     Who are you hoping to see go on to the World Series?

Have a great week!


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Tuesday means the Hodgepodge questions...

It's Hodgepodge time! Our leader Joyce recently went with her husband to their financial advisor and therefore she asks the first question to all of us…

1.  Do you manage your own money or do you have a financial planner who helps in some way? Do those kinds of conversations stress you out?  A lot of a little? 

For years now we have used the services of financial planners, but my hubby also stays on top of investing, retirement funds, and the like. He "enjoys" watching the financial news channels, reading the stock pages in the paper, and the like.  I'm glad he does - because it doesn't interest me at all.  But, I admit I have security knowing he takes care of it.   I should probably be a bit more "into" knowing where our money is.   Thankfully, he keeps an updated list of our accounts, etc. in our security box at the bank in case he becomes incapacitated and I need to know.  

2.  The second week of October is Pet Peeve Week.  Off the top of your head, share TWO of your current pet peeves. 

1.  Drivers who drive in the left lane when not passing!!  I live in an area with one main north-south road (Rte. 17) and it's two lanes each direction.   It seems there is always a slow driver - off in another world, not considering other drivers - just taking his/her time in the left lane.   It slows down everyone!  Impatient people end up passing on the right… and yes, I have done that too.  And, I can't help but look over at them when I pass - and they are totally oblivious to what they are doing to the traffic!   Seriously, do they teach "Stay right except to pass" in Driver's Ed anymore??     Grrrrrr

2.  The news media calling everything "Breaking News" is another pet peeve.  We have had to become de-sensitized to the term because we hear it every day.  Yes, when news happens…it is "Breaking News" but I prefer the term to mean something so serious that regular programming is interrupted on TV, or we as a country are all effected.  

3.  What is one thing you'd like to learn right now, this very week if you could? 

I'm not sure if this question is asking whether we wish we knew how to do something immediately…so as to be good at it right away OR, if we had the opportunity to take time to learn a new skill, then what would it be??     I know with every new skill or program there is a time factor involved.  If I could magically blink my eyes and know something new…  perhaps it would be how to play guitar.  We have one in the house.  I just need to pick it up and work on it.    

4.  How concerned are you about the recent health related news concerning Ebola?  How about Entrovirus D68?   

On a scale from 1 to 10, my worry is a 2 for me personally.  I do not work in an environment or go places where I could be contaminated.   But, globally, I am very concerned about Ebola.  It seems that we hear on the news the numbers dying and forget that each is a unique human being, and many are children.  Areas devastated by Ebola do not have sanitary hospitals, and know how to stop the virus.   Here in the US we have Ebola contained, and are tightening our airports and hospitals, making sure those with symptoms are secure, away from those who could be effected.   Entrovirus D68?   This seems to be of more concern for our school age children.  Right?  I don't know enough about how it is spread.  I need to google and learn more. (Back to #3 question above!!)

5.  Garfield, Nemo, or Tigger - your favorite orange cartoon character? 

It's got to be Garfield!  Why?  One of my daughters had a little stuffed Garfield when she was a toddler and our doggie at the time loved it - and it became his special item!  Our toy poodle Lucky carried that Garfield around everywhere and slept with him.   It was so sweet!

6.  Joyce is going to see 'Gone Girl' with her neighborhood Book Club this week.  So often books made into film are disappointing. What's a book turned into film you thought was well done, in that casting was 'like you pictured' when you read the book, and the film plot remained mostly true to the book plot? 

First, let me say our neighborhood Book Club also read 'Gone Girl" last year and we talked about going as a group to see the movie.  I have seen commercials and the movie trailer for it and I am struck by how 'dark' the movie seems… the lighting, the feel of suspense, etc.    When I read the book I did not get that from it.   I will be interested to hear Joyce's review of the movie.

As for a film that I enjoyed after reading the book and I felt it stayed true to it?   I will say "The Great Gatsby".  I have read the book several times through the years, and I have seen both movies of it.  The first with Robert Redford seems more "true" to the book, but I also loved the newer version with Leo DiCaprio.  Both are worth watching!!

7.  What is one story your family always tells about you? 

A childhood story?   Probably when I got sick from eating too many onion rings on a camping trip. We were in our family trailer and I slept above my parents bed in a hammock, and my brother was in the hammock next to me.  I was squished back in a top corner of the trailer - and I could not get out in time. When I started throwing up my brother quickly opened the cabinet next to him that held the kitchen bowls and passed one - then two- over to me for my use.  I filled them up.  Ugh.  I did not eat onion rings for YEARS after that.

8. My random thought. 

In my constant effort to stay positive during the change of seasons, and shorter daylight hours, I must state that we have had some absolutely beautiful weather days here all week!  Sunny, much less humidity - and crisp air in the morning and evening.  Really lovely!  I will not think about the season and weather that follows.   Denial, denial, denial.      

I hope you are enjoying early October too!

Monday, October 6, 2014

60 and 30

So, this past weekend we celebrated my hubby's 60th birthday - and we are into our 30th year of marriage too.  Milestones both!

I was sitting here at my computer thinking it seems like just yesterday when we met and married, and when we did, we NEVER thought about our lives together at this age, and after 30 years into our marriage.   I mean, who does?   We were young, having fun…had new jobs.  Buying a first house.  And then came children.  Yes… we saw that in our horizon and we were excited!  But, to see this far into the future?   I don't think it really crossed our minds.

But here we are.

In our twenties 60 years old sounded VERY old. (It still does….)  Everyone we knew at 60 was from the generation before us.  Our parents and their friends.   But now we are here, and that circle of life has brought us to be the parents our kids and their friends think of as being old.   I  know. I get it.  (But I still hope we "seem" young. lol)

My hubby and I both have a belief  that you ARE as old as you act.   To tell you the truth, he has always believed that, and I have learned it from living with him.   Hubby has a zest for life that is contagious when around him.   Enthusiasm?   He's got plenty of it!  Quick moving?  Absolutely.  Tiring at times?  yes.

But, hubby at 60 is as active as a young man at 30.  So, because of his behavior he has needed knee surgery and two hernia surgeries… and has aches and pains.   It doesn't stop him.

It's mind over matter.  Nothing in moderation.   So far.    I hope it continues.

This post is also about our years together and his lifestyle with me.  From day one in our marriage he has never "expected" me to be a certain way…   thankfully. He knew he wasn't getting a good cook and I'm an okay housekeeper - certainly not neurotic about it.  He realized I had lived alone and had a sense of independence.  In 30 years he has not told me what to do - or not to do.  Well, not directly!

I think I was much more conservative in my 20's than I am now.  I was afraid to try things "outside the box" and I was worried about what others thought.   As time has gone by, living with hubby, I have had the freedom to open up, to try, to think for myself, and to continue to make decisions.   THANK YOU HUBBY!!!

Don't get me wrong - we are a team.  But we are a team that value our own self too.   So, I thank my hubby for understanding the things I enjoy.  He flows with my interests.  He accepts them, and because of that,  they become his too.  Music.  Reading.  Pets.  Sports.  Outdoor life.  We share these loves.  

We were sitting together yesterday watching football on TV saying we like to watch sports together… we make "dates" to watch our favorite teams.

And, I look at my soon-to-be married daughter and her fiancé and I see many of the same attributes with them - and it makes me VERY happy!   I think they are going into marriage with similar shared loves, and with respect for each other's individual beliefs and ways.

So, although my hubby may not know it, at age 60 with 30 years of marriage under his belt, he has made a life for his wife and his children that keeps passion alive!  Life is never boring for any of us.  Life is full of twists and fun!

I pull the reins in sometimes when I can.  (Somebody has to do it!)    Marriage is also about balance.

So…  60 and 30.   Nice round numbers.   Amazing years.

Let's get going on 70 and 40!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Leaves fall, like sand through the hour glass….

Another month come and gone…  and this week's Hodgepodge asks questions about the good and the bad of September running out of time.    Read on.  Feel free to respond.

1.  Are the leaves turning color where you live?  Have they begun to fall?  Will you have to rake when it's all said and done?  Is that a chore you love or loathe? 

Here in my little part of the world we do not have a lot of maple trees so we don't see the majestic colors that come with sunny days and cold nights.   We get some leaves falling, yes, but not as many as other areas.  Right now the acorns are dropping from the mighty oaks.  Sometimes it's like rain, and I swear the squirrels enjoy aiming them at passer-bys!

Raking?  There will come a time later in fall when some raking is required.  Sometimes I prefer to get the blower out instead.   We have a river house with tall pines around it and they drop a ton of pine needles as they prepare for winter.  So, I rake them up and put them in bedding areas.

I love doing any outdoors work… so raking and blowing are activities I enjoy.

2.  When did you last shake like a leaf? 

When it comes to fear, it's been a long time because I don't put my self in situations that frighten me.

Oh,  I will say I have been known to 'shake like a leaf' when I'm really cold.  My body doesn't like cold weather.

3.  After 20 season with the New York Yankees, Derek Jeter played his last official game Sunday afternoon.  Jeter has been described as a 'class act', both on and off the field.  The NFL is back in action this month too, with several players in that sport making the headlines.  What are your thoughts on athletes as role models?  Should a professional athlete be expected to act as a role model or is that going beyond their job description?  What responsibility do the organizations these athletes work for have when it comes to dealing with off field behavior?  Discuss. 

Well, I could write a long post on this subject but I will try to keep it short for the Hodgepodge.  First,  I think everyone, an athlete or someone in any other profession, should do their best to live their lives as a role model to young people.  We all have a responsibility to our youth. And, if we are Christians we  have rules to follow and are told "to love each other as ourselves."  We do this in response to the graceful love of God.

There is a difference between being a role model and being a "hero"…  and many athletes fall short on that term.   I admire Derek Jeter, and Cal Ripken Jr., and Drew Brees, and…  the list can go on and on. There are many wonderful athletes who behave, who give back, who keep their heads on straight.   Unfortunately, the ones who don't are the ones who make the headlines.   If these players were in another line of work, the behavior would not be front page news.   So, it's not fair to them too I suppose.  But, working in a high recognition field puts them out there.  They sign up for it!

I am a bit confused on where I come down on how organizations should handle off field behavior.   If it comes out as fact that a player has broken a law, then management must respond and let the justice system take over.  If it's "antics" that are unbecoming, but during off hours, I think organizations can certainly talk with the player.  I suppose it depends on what was in the contract from the "git go".   If a player signs a contract about bad behavior then they must face the consequences.

4.  What season of the year is toughest for you in terms of your health?  Why? 

As I mentioned in Question #2, my body does not like cold weather!  So, I can definitely say winter is my worst season in terms of my health.  I tend to stay indoors because it's cold, so I do not get as much physical activity. (No gardening, walking, golfing, etc.)   I am more likely to catch a cold during winter.  Again… indoors with others, heat on, blowing & spreading germs.   I also suffer from light deprivation.  I need sunshine and long days!

5.  The top six healthy food trends of 2014 according to 'Eating Well' are - 

*Clean eating  (more vegetables, less meat sodium, limit alcohol and processed food)
*Trash fish  (you know those fish that get caught in fishermen nets and are thrown back?  Chefs are finding creative ways to make them more appetizing.)
*Cauliflower  (this year's 'it' vegetable)
*Kaniwa  (essentially baby quinoa)
*Fermentation  (think pickling with twists on flavor we're not accustomed to.)
*Community supported food (farms operated with community support/membership.)

Okay - so how many of the hot healthy food trends of 2014 have you experienced, encountered, enjoyed?  Any you've tried and said ew?  Any on the list you'd like to try before year's end? 

First let me say, I am NOT a "foodie" so I don't care much about trends and trying new things just for the sake of trying them.     Of the list above, I think I may follow the "clean eating" way to healthy food.  I prefer less processed food in general…    but limit my wine?   ha!   NO!!!!  

Of the other trends on the above list, I have just discovered quinoa on salads…  so I'm late to that one.   I've never been a big fan of cauliflower. I'd much rather have a green vegetable.   I'm allergic to seafood so I can't eat good fish or trash fish.  And, I like my wine fermented - not my food!

6.  In seven words or less, bid September adieu. 

Please don't leave yet.

7.  What's something on your October calendar that makes you happy just thinking about it? 

Scroll down and read my post before this one and you will see that I am working on focusing on the good things that come in fall and winter because of my answers to #4.     Specifically in October I am looking forward to attending the wedding of one of my daughters's childhood friends.   She is getting married mid-October at Magnolia Plantation in Charleston, an absolutely beautiful spot!

This friend was practically part of our family when we lived in Sparta, NJ.  My daughter and she were best friends all through grade school and beyond.  She spent many hours at our house…and came along on family vacations.   It will be lovely to see her get married, all grown up, so beautiful!  

She is marrying a guy from Charleston so they decided to have the wedding down here….yeah!

And, because I am helping to plan my own daughter's April wedding it will be fun to experience a ceremony and reception to see what special things will happen.  I'm in that "wedding planner" mode.

8.  My random thought.  

My hubby is turning 60 years old on Saturday.  He does NOT want any hoopla, but we are having a family get-together and I have a couple of surprises up my sleeve.  I can't let the occasion go by without saying that it is amazing how when we met and married, and we knew it was "til death do us part" but still old age seemed so far away!   As Kenny Chesney sings "Don't blink"  because just like that time goes by and here we are.   As the song says we "turned into Mom and Dad, and watched our babies grow", and…as much as we'd like "to flip over the hourglass and start again"… we can only "take every breath God gives us for what it's worth."

Make your breaths count!  Have a GREAT day!