Tuesday, March 25, 2014

March is about windy days and things turning green.

Hello Hodgepodge readers!  Enjoy the questions and my answers that follow.  If you want to comment, please feel free to at the end of this post - OR at my mail address:  mfabiansc@hotmail.com.   You can find me on Facebook too!

1.  March is known as the windy month. Which of the following phrases best fits your March so far…   'throw caution to the wind.' 'three sheets to the wind,' 'run like the wind,' or 'see which way the wind blows'? 

I think this month I can best relate to "see which way the wind blows' because it seems each day has been a bit different…weather-wise and with my activities.   It's been a mixed bag  - and that keeps life interesting, right?  

Another phrase to live by is to 'be like a blade of grass blowing in the wind' - in other words, bend with whatever comes along.  Just go with it (because often, really, you don't have a choice anyway.)

2.  Your favorite green food?  Your favorite dish made with your favorite green food? 

I think my favorite green food is asparagus.  I like it steamed as a side dish with chicken or steak.  I also like it grilled, and then topped with a few bread crumbs.

3.  Ever been locked out of your home - car - office - anywhere?  Do tell! 

I have thought back in my mind and do not recall ever locking myself out of anyplace.  The only thing I can think of is losing a hotel room card/key and having to get another one from the front desk.  

I have been fortunate (and I do think I'm careful about keys)  so I hope I don't have a good story to tell in the future! ha

4.  Yoda, Kermit, Shrek, the Wicked Witch of the West, Oscar the Grouch, The Grinch, or Mike Wasowski (Monsters Inc.)…   of the green characters listed, which one is your favorite and why? 

Oh Kermie!!!!!  I love Sesame Street characters and I think Kermit is adorable.  And…you know, it's not easy being green!  Plus, I love his undying love for Miss Piggy.     Kermit is the best!

5.  "The first task of a leader is to keep hope alive." - Joe Batten    Do you agree?  Why or why not? 

I do agree with Mr. Batten that a leader must be able to keep troops/employees/citizens hopeful and positive about the future.   It makes a difference in accomplishing tasks, and in attitude for sure.  I think without hope people become despondent and idle.  So, YES, hope is extremely necessary in leadership. It's extremely necessary in life!

6.  Share a favorite song with an emotion in it's title.  

Can I say this question is harder than I thought it would be?  I have scanned through some of my favorite artists' song titles and most don't have an emotion in the title.   I'm a country music lover and I'm a bit surprised that I'm having difficulty -  because, you know, country music is all about pick-up trucks, loving and leaving, feeling hurt, loving your mama, and drinking!  There's lots of emotion in the songs - just not in the titles! ha

I did find Tim McGraw's "Angry All the Time" from one of his early albums.  It's a great song.  And…I love, love, love Keith Urban's "Stupid Boy" but I guess stupid isn't an emotion…it's just a way a person is!    Of course love is an emotion that shows up in lots of songs,  and naming just one is Keith's "It's a Love Thing."  

7.  What's a road trip you'd like to take? 

I think it might be interesting to take a road trip along the gulf region… from Florida to Texas.  I have never been there for vacation and stops in Biloxi, New Orleans, and into southern Texas would be interesting.   The music, the weather, the sights all appeal to me.  I have done some pretty cool road trips through wine country in CA, and down through the keys in FL.   I have driven through the scenic mountains of Virginia and the Carolinas too.

8.  My random thought.

I mentioned this on Facebook, but I have enjoyed watching March Madness basketball this year - and I have discovered that if you fill out a bracket it makes all the difference!  It's much more fun to watch the teams play and root for the ones that I picked…in hopes of surviving on and making my Final Four.  So far they are still alive!!  I took Virginia, Arizona, Florida, and Michigan - with Virginia to go all the way. Wa hoo wa!!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

New life

I find it somewhat ironic, or better-worded, "meaningful" that I learned this morning of the sudden death of a girlfriend of mine from my days in Sparta. Renee passed last night,  the first day of spring 2014.  I admit I am still in shock over it because her illness was very sudden and not many people were  aware of her being sick.

We both moved away from Sparta about the same time - she just before me.  We had spend time together in the "Sparta Friends & Neighbors Club" and enjoyed meetings and outings together.  We were neighbors just "down the road" from each other.  After we both moved we lost touch for awhile; she went to Arkansas and I moved to South Carolina.

Thanks to Facebook we reconnected and we enjoyed sending posts about our families, sharing stories, jokes, and pictures, AND we loved our favorite college football teams!!  She was a dedicated Arkansas Razorback fan - so we started a yearly contest when the Backs played the Gamecocks in football.   The loser had to send the winner a small gift from their little piece of the world.

Oh my.  Renee was too young to go.  She was only in her mid 50's with a husband who just retired 3 months ago.  Just 3 months ago!!  They looked forward to spending more time together.   Their boys were now young men, and Renee and her husband were going to start a new chapter in life.

It's hard to understand.  I actually don't know the particulars about what took Renee yet.  I only know she stopped being on Facebook maybe a month or so ago, and this morning the memorials began popping up on line.

My heart goes out to her family.  I know that Renee has already started a "new life" beyond earth and I hope she is free from pain, or whatever her sickness had on her.  I am glad she is not suffering - but I know there is plenty of suffering now due to her loss.  God be with all those who knew and loved Renee. She will be missed.   I will treasure the piece of pottery she sent me when she lost the little bet we had with her Razorbacks and my Gamecocks.

It's the first day of spring - and I'm a bit sad.  But, I know that there is a new life in heaven.  I have faith that God welcomed a new loving servant today.

Rest in peace Renee.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Hello Hodgepodgers!  This week's edition is all about spring and new beginnings.   After this winter I think I can safely say we are ALL very anxious for spring and all it brings!

1.  Thursday marks the first day of spring… to celebrate would you rather plant a garden or go for a walk in the woods?  Would either of these activities be possible on Thursday where you live? 

I prefer to plant a garden; a flower garden.  I definitely enjoy getting into the dirt and beautifying the yard with flowers!  (I have actually started in on it already.)  This Thursday is looking good for getting out there again.  The paper says it will be warmer, reaching 70 degrees, and a mostly sunny day.   Lately we have been getting teases of beautiful days and Thursday is one.  Unfortunately, next week the forecast is to be cooler and rainy again.  To tell you the truth, that really is what spring weather is.  Right?  We need the rain, but I do wish the temperatures would just stay warm!

2.  When did someone last spring something on you?  (Or, when did you last spring something on someone?) 

Hmmmm.  In my marriage my hubby likes to surprise me more than I like to be surprised! ha!  But, I accept most everything he springs on me.  The last major thing he surprised me with were the tickets for our trip to St. Petersburg, Russia when our daughter was there for school a few summers ago.   He knew that I would have hemmed and hawed about going, so he just went ahead and made the plans and then told me.   Of course, it turned out to be a wonderful trip, one I probably would not have done if it was left up to me.

3.  We often think of spring as a time for new beginnings.  What's something you'd like to start this spring? 

I have already got my New Year's resolution to work on, and also, there's something I have added to my life for Lent (see previous post).  I think I can't take on anything else new right now! lol  So, I will continue to work on a) adding exercise into my life regularly, and b) doing an act if random kindness each day.

4.  Where do you like to sit in a movie theatre?  When did you last sit there, and what were you watching? 

Hubby and I have a routine of climbing up all the steps and sitting in the back row at the movie theatre. Most new theaters provide extra leg space way up there, and we just like being in a spot where nobody is sitting behind us.   The last movie was "12 Years of Slavery" and we saw it just a few weeks ago, just after it won the Academy Award for Best Picture.  

5.  When you meet someone for the very first time, what do you want them to think about you? 

That I am an open, friendly person - easy to talk to, and not closed-minded.

6.  March is National Frozen Food Month (yes, really!)  Besides ice cream (gotta make you think a little), what's your most often purchased frown food item? 

It is Stouffer's Lean Cuisines.  I usually have 3 or 4 of them in the freezer at all times because it's my "go to" meal when I am home by myself for dinner.  My hubby travels for work sometimes and when he's away I don't prepare a "home cooked meal".  I nuke a Lean Cuisine, poor a glass of wine, and pick MY TV shows to watch!  ( ;

7.  What's something you avoid? 

Wow.  Just one thing??  OK.    As I have grown, and become my own person, I have learned to avoid negative people.  I don't like being around people that complain, or only see things in a sad, hopeless way.  I have been told I walk around with rose-colored glasses on, but I'm okay with that.  I want to see the best in people or situations, and I want to still BELIEVE that life is good!   Because… it is!!!

8.  My random thought. 

I just want to say I'm very proud of BOTH my daughters right now.  One daughter is finishing up her masters in English Literature and she has been student teaching this semester.  She has been learning to make lesson plans, teach them, grade papers, deal with students' personalities in high school, and even has gotten involved in some after-school extra-curricular activities.   She gets her Masters May 10th!  Yippee!!

My other daughter is a CPA and has been working her tail off endless hours during tax season.  The March 15th deadline just passed for corporate filing - and that was a big one!  She still has April 15th to make it through.  She will… she's hard working and determined - and counting down the days to some relaxation afterwards.

Way to go girls!!

Monday, March 17, 2014

For me today is the "luck of the Germans"…

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!  I don't have a drip of Irish blood in me, but I want to blog today anyway because it's also the birth date of my mother.  She came from German descendants so I wonder what her parents thought about having their first child on Ireland's biggest celebration day.  I'm guessing they were just happy she had arrived!

Mom lived in a tiny little town in southwestern Ohio called Botkins, and she grew up there.  For her family to go shopping or out to eat, they went to the hopping metropolis of Sidney.  Her dad worked there in a die making plant.  One of her favorite restaurants was "The Spot" and last I heard it still exists.    She was a cheerleader and I have seen some pictures of her with her girlfriends.  I think there were only 5 or 6 cheerleaders (remember, it was a small school) and I wonder what teams they actually cheered for.  I can't imagine that Botkins High had enough young men to make up a football team.   Most likely they had a basketball team.  It only takes 5! ha

My mother never got the chance to go to college (the oldest of four & it was a pretty rare thing for girls at that time), but one weekend she did go with a few of her girlfriends to a dance in Columbus at Capital University.  I'm not sure if she had met my dad before then or not, but he was a student there.  Before college, he had to take a break in his education to go serve our country, and when he returned to the states his parents had moved to Botkins.  The story goes he came back in the middle of the night and tried to find their house… and knocked on mom's door by mistake.  Is this true? I'm not sure.

My mother and father dated and married while dad was still in school.   He went into the seminary and my sister was born while dad was serving as an intern for a church in Butler, PA.   Dad's first church of his own was back in Columbus and that's where my brother and I came along.

During those times spouses (and again it was the wives) of seminary students took a class too - on how to be a good pastor's other half!!   My mom was very traditional, as was her upbringing and life back then, and she took the class.  I'm sure she passed it with flying colors!

As time went on she did become the "perfect" spouse and mother.   I always remember her being available for us all.  It was her life-calling.  Wife and mother.   She was a fine house keeper…thankfully not neurotic about cleaning, and she did fine as a cook in the kitchen.  Again, she was  not a gourmet chef but we are talking about a woman with a "meat and potatoes" German background.  

I have many, many fond memories of my mother.  Unfortunately when she got into her 50's (which is where I am now) she had some unexplained medical issues for awhile.  I remember at that time my parents were unsure about the doctor and mom tried different medicines (perhaps some were not the best for her), and finally she was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.   Mom lived the last years of her life with it, and in time it changed her.  She had trouble moving, and writing, and she got tired very quickly.

I always regretted the fact she got sick before my daughters got to know her.  Mom had limitations and could not be a hands-on grandmother.  My hubby, daughters, and I also lived far away and my parents stopped traveling due to mom's illness.

But, whenever this day comes around each year it's St. Patty's day for everyone else, but for me it's a day to remember my mother with love.   I had the "luck of the Germans" having a mother born on this day. She was the oldest of Floyd and Goldie's, sister to Byron, Danny, and Susie, wife to Paul, mother to Susan, Mark, and Marla.  Grandmother to Erin, Sarah, Lauren, and Kristen.

Happy birthday Mom!

Friday, March 14, 2014

A Random Act of Kindness each day

So, as of today I'm about 10 days into Lent, which means I'm 10 days into my plan of doing a random act of kindness every day during the 40 day season leading up to Easter.

I have quickly discovered that sometimes it's just REALLY hard to find the place/person/time to do a random act of kindness each and every single day.  And, if I have to keep "looking" for it, then it really isn't random, is it?   Right?

I'm not totally giving up - and I still like the idea that I'm adding to my life instead of taking something away.  I'm just saying that my idea for doing something different during Lent is taking more effort than I thought it would…and maybe that's a good thing.  It's definitely causing me to think of new ways to show kindness when I'm out in my little part of the world.

Maybe I need to make a list…

* Paying for someone's food or drink.

* Letting someone get ahead of me in a line.

* Taking on a task someone else usually does.

* Surprising someone with a thank-you gift or card.

I'm trying to think of "acts" that don't necessary include money, although occasionally that is fine.  Seriously, everyone likes a bill to be paid, or a monetary gift given.  I get that. But, I'm trying to think of other ways to be kind when I normally am not…     and maybe it's as easy as saying hello to someone I don't know as I pass by them - or offer to help with pushing a shopping cart, or grabbing the item on the top shelf in the grocery store.

But this "keeping track" and doing a random act of kindness is quite the exercise!  (If only I could lose calories doing it. )

Who knew it could be so hard to be kind!?!?

( :

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

It's time for a bit of green.

It's Hodgepodge time….  so let's get right to it!

1.  Do you have an interest in learning about your family's heritage?  Why or why not?  If you know a little bit about your roots, share an interesting piece of trivia or a fun fact about someone who goes way back on your family tree. 

Yes, I am interested in "where I came from" and I have researched it a bit. A few years ago I signed up for the 6 month introductory time on Ancestry.com and I was able to find out a little bit on my own.  Thankfully, my cousin Kay had already done extensive research and put together a notebook of information and pictures from my Dad's side of the family.  My mother's sister also was able to give me some family heritage info from that side.

Both my father and my mother's families came from Germany.  Although my Dad's side (the Milheims) lived in the south-western part of the country and there were a few times that area became French controlled.  A few years back my hubby, daughters, and I traveled there - and actually visited the town of Millheim, just a small little town in wine country.  (No wonder I love my wine so much!! )

A bit of trivia, my mother's maiden name was Fogt.  Her ancestors settled in Ohio.   But researching back to Germany, I discovered the family name was Vogt.  I think they changed it here in the states, as many people did, because the pronunciation of the V sounded like an F.

2.  Branch Rickey, the baseball exec credited with singing Jackie Robinson, is quoted was saying - "Luck is the residue of design."   Agree or disagree?  Why? 

First, let me say, if you have not seen the movie "42" about Jackie Robinson GO SEE IT!  It came out a few years ago and it was a wonderfully made movie about Jackie's rise in baseball,  and his personal life, about his relationship with Mr. Rickey, and all that Jackie endured when he broke into the all-white major baseball league.

Now, as for Mr. Rickey's quote….  if I understand it right, I do not agree and  do not believe that things always happen for a reason and that everything is planned out.  I think in life sometimes we can make the best decisions, and plan out what we want to do, but a twist comes along - for good or bad.  We can't control other people, or nature.   So, although it's good to have a design, or plan, we must also except that it may not always happen.  Learning to accept unexpected changes is what builds character.

Am I way off base (get it?? ha ha) on this?

3.  In the town where you reside, what's your favorite green space? 

For this answer, I will consider 'green space' as an open area of nature.   Therefore, my favorite spot is the view of the marshes between the island of Pawleys Island and the mainland.   We are lucky to have many beautiful nature spots here, including this one (my first attempt at uploading onto my blog):

Morning time at the beach…

4.  Who is your favorite comedian? 

This is an easy answer for me.  Stephen Colbert!  I love watching "The Colbert Report" and laugh out loud at the way Stephen plays his character of the pompous newsman.  Of course his staff of writers are amazing…but Stephen, the man, is an expert at portraying Stephen, the character.   He is funny, funny, funny!

5.  March is National Nutrition Month, and almost everyone needs to improve their diet in some way.  What about you?  How can you improve your nutrition on a daily basis? Will you try? 

In general I'm pretty good at eating a balanced diet.  But, I lack including fruit into my daily intake and I try to make a point when grocery shopping to buy the prepared individual sized fruit containers.  If I buy small mixes of fresh fruit from the produce section then I'm more likely to open one, and eat it along with a sandwich at lunch.   I buy individual packages of sliced apples…grapes, melon, etc.  Anything already to go - easy to grab and eat.

6.  Which of these green expressions have you 'experienced' in recent weeks - green with envy, green thumb, green around the gills, or given the green light?  Explain. 

I will say I have experienced a 'green thumb' the past few days.  If you read my blog post before this one, you will see that I have been itching to get out into my yard and my garden and plant!  We have had a few lovely weather days in a row now, after such a cold rough winter, so I have already found myself in the garden department at Home Depot. It's still early, but I could not help myself - I bought a few plants and put them in the ground.   Now, stay away cold weather!!

7.  Where is one place you don't mind waiting? 

This is a great question because I think in general we all have trouble with having patience - especially with how fast paced life is, and how over-scheduled we have become.  I try to live my life without the stress of deadlines.  In general I don't mind waiting…  at a doctor's office, at a long red light, or behind a slowpoke in the fast lane.   But to pick one place?  I tell myself on the road if I get into a bad backup, perhaps its a total stop, that whatever is happening way up in front of me can't be good…and that that situation is much worse than my sitting in my car, listening to music, running just a little late.

8.  My random thought.

I don't know why I didn't take time to add pictures in my blog before. I wasn't sure how, but I have now discovered it's easy.  Part of me has thought all along it's my thoughts in words, not in pictures.  But, heck, occasionally I can add in one or two!  So, I'll end today's Hodgepodge with just a couple more.
Have a GREAT week!

 This is our pug Miss Honeybee.   She now has a rescue sister, Miss Daisy.   We are a pug crazy family!

A pic of some green space along the PeeDee River.  We love to boat the beautiful rivers in this part of the low country.

Monday, March 10, 2014


I have this feeling of joy spilling out of me as the first early days of Spring are finally here…  it seems I have waited so long.  It's been a tough winter.

The past two days have been sunny with temps reaching 70 in the afternoon.  Today is supposed to be another one.  And…tomorrow.  (After that I am in denial.)

So, since the spring has sprung for a few days I have already found myself at the garden center twice!  I'm so, so, so, anxious to see some flowers in bloom and to plant more in my yard!   The first time there I wandered around a bit to see what arrived, and I bought 3 cyclamen plants - just because I HAD to get something! Right?  I planted them in my backyard yesterday and I hope they do okay.

My second visit to the nursery I got a forsythia bush - and some hibiscus plants for around my bird bath at our riva place.   I have always wanted a forsythia bush because it's one of the first bloomers of a new year.  The yellow blooms are bright & cheery. It's interesting because they are not that popular here in the south, perhaps because we have such a wide variety of flowering bushes to choose from. But I found one and hubby planted it for me.   Then I planted the hibiscus and hope I didn't put them in the ground too early.  If I did I think I can cover them if we have a particular chilly night.

I have NO patience when it comes to bringing on Spring!!

Yesterday I "piddled" in my yard, cleaning up fallen sticks and debris, and just trying to "neaten" the place.  I noticed buds just about ready to open on some of the azaleas.  I saw the beginnings of flowers (the red tinge) on my Japanese Maple tree.  The Princess Anne rose vine is getting bits of green, and soon the flowers will pop.  My camellia bushes have flowers now!  

So, this morning, I'm sitting here wondering what I can do outside today.  I want to buy new plants for my poor pots that had things in them that could not survive the cold winter months.   The pots are so sad looking.  But…  I know it's too early.

I must find patience!

Just wait.  It's only a matter of weeks…      

Spring feels like it's here today.  But, not yet.  I need more patience!  

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

In like a lion...

We have made it to March! I remember as a child seeing a bulletin board in my classroom with a lion and a lamb on it, and the expression that "March comes in like a lion, and goes out like a lamb."   It seems this year the month of March is certainly starting off like a lion.  I have high hopes that it will be more like a lamb by the end of the month.

As we wait, we can continue with the Hodgepodge each week.  Here are today's questions with my answers.

1.  The expression 'mad as a March hare' originated as a fictional character who is distracted and frantic.  When were you last 'mad as a March hare' and what was it that made you that way? 

Usually I feel 'mad as a March hare' when I have lost something that is important to me.  A couple of weeks ago I became very frantic and distracted when  I could not find my glasses that I rely on for driving.  I don't wear glasses all the time so I am continually putting them on, taking them off, setting them aside.  I try to put my glasses in the same places all the time - but occasionally I don't.  Then I get mad at myself - and I get pretty frantic as I look for them.   The last time this happened I searched and searched until I found that they had slid down between my driver's seat and the middle console in the car.  They must have fallen out of my handbag.

2. Mardi Gras this year falls on Tuesday, March 4th. Have you ever been to Mardi Gras, and if so what did you think?  If not, do you have any interest in going? Purple, green, and gold are the colors of Mardi Gras.  Which one is most prevalent in your wardrobe?  How about in your home? 

I have never been to Mardi Gras - and in fact, I have never been to New Orleans.  So, yes, I would like to experience it all once!  I might prefer to see New Orleans when it is not Mardi Gras time - to really see the sights, and hear the sounds of the area.  I'm not a big creole lover so I don't think I'd go for the food, but I would love to hear the jazz bands in the little clubs, and experience the music scene that it is so famous for.

As for the colors:  Green is most prevalent in my closet. I've said this before, I have green eyes so I like to wear green too.   In my home?  None of the colors really - but my living room area and kitchen walls are painted a deep buttery yellow (it changes color with the light of the day.)  It's not gold… but the closest of the Mardi Gras colors.

3.  Are you old fashioned? 

I think as a person ages they can't help but become a bit old fashioned because they remember and look back fondly on the events and styles of their youth.  They become reminiscent of the 'good ole days' and sometimes don't like to see things change from how it was.

Saying that, I TRY TRY TRY to stay current and not be old fashioned all the time.  I don't want to live in the past. I want to keep whatever youth I have -  which is really only the youth in my mind!  My body may not be youthful anymore but I can try and keep my thinking that way.  I admit I need prodding sometimes. My hubby has the same mindset as I do, so he is good at encouraging me to be "with it" when it comes to electronics, fashion, etc.

4.  Do you carefully plan your vacations, or do you prefer the days to be more spontaneous? 

I'm a planner.  I'm not good at just going somewhere on a whim without any ideas of what to do and see.  So, I prefer to take some time and plan out a vacation ahead of going. It's easy to do on the internet.  I like to research the area, to learn the places of interest, and to make a plan as to what I want to experience on a vacation.

Some of my favorite vacations have been ones where I have gone with a group tour because it is already planned - and it's less personally stressful.  No decisions to be made.  Just go with the flow.  I have taken a couple European trips that way.  And, I have cruised several times.  Cruising gives you a bit of both - planned adventures and some spontaneous moments.

5.  March is National Sauce Month… what is your favorite sauce, and what do you most often top with this sauce? 

Who knew?   A special month for sauces!   ha!   I think my favorite is a brown sauce.  I love lots of Chinese food dishes prepared with brown sauce, especially chicken egg foo yong.  When I order Chinese food I usually get enough brown sauce to use it in another meal too.

6.  What's something that easily brings you to tears? 

Just one thing?  I can't answer with just one….    I tear up easily.   Here's a few reasons:   Watching a movie with a happy ending, or a sweet moment OR watching a moment with an extremely sad situation,  watching a family video of my daughters when they were babies/toddlers - and hearing their little voices, sitting in church and thinking back on my family growing up in church (I sometimes hear a hymn and my mother singing beside me & I hear my Dad saying the benediction - he was a pastor),  being outdoors on a lovely evening with my hubby and having a glass of wine, talking about life.

FYI:  I used to tear up ALL the time in my 40's due to hormonal ups and downs - and had to get on my "happy pills". Back then my tearing up was not always 'tears of joy' but now it is.  Thank God for modern medicine!

7.  If you could own any sports team, which would it be and why?  

I could not imagine owning any big professional sports team in today's world because they are so wrapped up in making big bucks and it's too often business over enjoyment.  So, I think I have to answer that I'd own a neighborhood children's team…and try to teach sportsmanship and the love of a game at an early age.

8.  My random thought. 

I am itching to get out and to plant!  I want to work in my yard, to "piddle' around and pull weeds, and plant flowers in pots. It's still too early but I'm anxious - and I'm waiting for the mild lamb-like days of March to get outdoors and enjoy!!

Have a good week all.  Stay warm!