Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The end of summer….

Joyce is back with the Hodgepodge questions just as the summer winds down.  So, it makes sense that her topics include "back to school" and "Labor Day."    Join in! Read the questions and my answers, and have fun, and answer them too!

1.  As August draws to a close, share what's been your favorite weekend of the entire summer.

Wow!  It has to be a weekend…so that narrows it down a little.  I have had some wonderful weeks (specifically the week at Lakeside with family.)   I have to go with "extended weekends" though because my answer(s) stretched beyond Friday through Sunday.  1.  I had a wonderful time at the CMA Festival in Nashville with my two daughters, and the fiancĂ© in June.   2.  I also had a fantastic time over our annual 4th of July weekend at our "riva cabin" with lots of family and friends.   Good times!  Summertime fun!!!

2.  Labor Day is marked in the US of A on Monday, Sept. 1st. What paying job have you held that you loved the most?  Liked the least? 

The job I loved the most was when I was Promotions Manager at 98 ROCK in Baltimore.  Why?  I worked with great people, many I still call my friends.  I had an exciting job and went in to work each day not knowing who might stop in… rock singers, etc.  But, we also were in a building with an AM station and a TV station, so there seemed to always be "special guests" in the building.  I was young (mid 20's) when I worked there - thankfully - because it often was NOT a 9 to 5 job.  I worked many nights and weekends too…. but don't feel sorry for me.  I was going to a concert, taking ticket winners, hanging out backstage, etc.  

The job I liked the least?   When I first moved to Norfolk, VA I took a temp job through Snelling & Snelling (anyone remember that temp agency?)   I worked for a bank - and basically sat in a cubicle in a small room with no windows… and opened mail with credit card payments and entered them into a old-fashioned "computer system".  This was the early 80's so there was no on-line banking.  All payments came through the US Mail and I (along with a few other sad people) opened envelopes, and punched numbers all day.  Oh - and at the end of the day if we did not balance, we ALL had to stay to find the mistake!  ugh

3.  Does the new school year start before or after Labor Day where you live?  When do you think it should begin?  There is much discussion now about older students having later start times to their school day…   your thoughts? 

School here in coastal SC started last week.  Too early in my book!  I remember growing up with school not starting until AFTER Labor Day.   It was a big deal to buy a new "Fall-looking" dress and new shoes - for the first day.  Here it's still hot so kids are going back in shorts and flip-flops (not that there is anything wrong with that!?! )

Yes, I have read about the research showing high schoolers stay up until 11pm or so, and therefore need more sleep…and school should not start until 8:00am or after.  As a person who loves to sleep, I get that!  Here's been the dilemma in places where I have lived: buses!!!  The same buses are used for all schools so they ruled when school started.  Also, high school students often have more after-school activities AND part-time jobs.  So, getting out early each day gives time for the after-school stuff.
There's no perfect answer.

4.  What's something you've worked at recently that could be deemed a 'labor of love?' 

I have a few things I enjoy and volunteer time to do that qualify, but I will say it's the baby layette program I do each week, through my church.  I have blogged about it before, so to recap, I put together baskets of essentials for new moms…onesies, baby bath, diapers, wipes, etc.  I  put in a small stuffed toy and decorate the basket, add a personal note, then I drop them off at one of the local hospitals.  It's in an area that serves a poorer community.  The nurses in the OB- maternity ward decide who needs one. They can identify the mothers who don't get flowers, or other gifts… and who often don't even have a "going home" outfit for their new baby.   The women from my church donate many items to go into the baskets and I could not do it without their support.

5.  Which of the following work idioms can you most relate to right now….   'a woman's work is never done,' 'all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,' 'many hands make lighter work." 

Easy!  After what I just wrote about in question 4, I will say 'many hands make lighter work.'   but, isn't that true about everything?   Plus, it's more fun to work together!

6.  Crab or lobster, thanks but no thanks? 

No thanks.  I'm allergic!  I have never had lobster - and the fews times I had crab I got very sick.  Twice I passed out cold.  So, I have learned my lesson.  NO thanks.

7.  Albert Einstein is quoted as saying "Three rules of work: Out of clutter find simplicity; from discord find harmony; in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity."    Which of the three do you consider to be most important?  Share one of your own 'rules of work.'

Most important?  Well…  probably the third part of his quote.  When times are tough, or when things go wrong, we people tend to get up and act.  We can be uncaring or quiet until something bad happens…and then we receive a call into action.   Hopefully, the result is a better thing - a better world!

One of my 'rules of work?'      Work hard - then relax.  Start early and pace yourself.  It's less stressful!!    Okay…that was two rules.  I can never answer with just one!

8.  My random thought. 

Yesterday was my older daughter's first day as a teacher!  She worked in another field for awhile after getting a Bachelor's degree, then went back and got her Master's in Education.  I am proud of her!!  I know she will be underpaid for all the hours she puts in, and all the stress she will feel.  But, I want to remind her that good teachers have a lasting impression on students.  Oh, not all students… but those few who connect and will learn and enjoy the classroom experience.

This is the same daughter who is getting married in April.  Talk about a crazy year ahead!   That's why this mama is diving into much of the wedding planning….thankfully, with her blessing.

Have a great last couple of days of summer everyone!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

My own Hodgepodge….

The Hodgepodge is on vacation today so I thought I'd take just a few minutes to express myself and "get it off my chest" - no comments from the peanut gallery please.  Here's my own Hodgepodge.

*  So, it's mid-August and I have seen on Facebook that some schools have started this week.  I know around here and in some other places the school doors open to students next week.  I will never get used to classes starting in August after going my whole school career at a time when they waited until after Labor Day.   August is still "summer".   Labor Day weekend used to be the "last hurrah" of summer… but not anymore.

*  The sixties are rearing their ugly head right now when it comes to racial divides and injustice.  The events in Ferguson are reminding me of "how it used to be" but it seems we still are not there yet when it comes to crime and differences between the races.  Prejudice is still alive and living in the US of A.  

But, this is what I don't get, and perhaps can never get, since I am not in the shoes of those protesting:  why use violence?  Is that the only way to get attention after so much frustration?  Is it unrestrained actions that pop out after holding back pain for a long time?   I don't know.  I wish that people who want to speak out - as is allowed in this great country of ours - would do it peacefully and without hurting the innocent and business owners trying to make a living.   I wish they would recognize that acting out physically and with violence makes it worse, and makes others fear them…which makes the cycle continue.

*  I remember back when "W" was president, and yes, I had a general dislike for the way he served our country.  I felt he did not represent America around the world as an educated man, who had restraint - and I felt he got there due to some nepotism, not from hard work.  Yes, I had issues with him on several levels.  He embarrassed me at times.  (But so did Clinton and others).   It's no secret that I think president Obama is a better leader, a better representative in the world, a caring but restrained man - when it comes to military actions and our place where sometimes we don't belong.  

So, yes, you all know where I stand.  But, here's my thing:  I remember having some interesting discussions with my girlfriends at that time and they were Republicans and saw it all differently than me.  That was okay.  We were still friends!   Is it me or have we gotten polarized to the point where you have to stick your ground and sometimes become mean?  I suppose social media has evolved so much now that it's easy to "resend" political humor (meanness), and to think it's okay.   It's not.   It separates us.

* The wedding planning is moving along in this household!  It's like a part-time job!    I am getting an education on all things wedding, and I appreciate the need for a professional wedding planner now.  Yes, I hired one two weeks ago!  There would be no way to get through the week of the wedding without one - and still be the Mother of the Bride - and still be sane!   lol

Most all the businesses I have contacted for rental needs and for food and flowers, etc. have been gracious, attentive and excited with me.  Can you believe the one thing I am having trouble getting a response back from is a fancy restroom trailer company??  I have left several messages for two local companies that offer them for special events.  I have left emails, and phone messages.  No callback yet! This could be a problem!!

* I am going to TWO country music concerts this weekend!!  I am seeing Jerrod Neiman, Brett Eldridge and KEITH URBAN Friday night in Charlotte - and then I'm going to the Darius Rucker concert at Coastal Carolina U on Saturday night!  I continue to totally love the live country music concert experience.  It's just so happy, it's for all ages, it's seeing/hearing amazing talent!!   I am looking forward to it all!

* I will be very glad when the two houses under construction on my street are finished.  I think work started about a year ago, and it has been a continue stream of construction trucks, and I have heard hammers pounding, dump trucks rumbling, music playing, roofers using nail guns…. and it still continues.  How much longer??

* Last but not least, as September gets closer, football will be on in this house every weekend - oh, and on Monday nights and Thursday nights!  As I have said in earlier posts, it is one of my favorite things about fall.  Pre-season has already started but the real action kicks in soon. SEC football is my favorite to watch (Go Gamecocks!) and I love the pros too.  I posted earlier about all the crazy behind the scenes inappropriate - sometimes illegal - behavior and how some players are terrible role models.  Ahhh….but the game itself!  I still love it!  

What about you?    What are you looking forward to?  What makes you happy?

Have a wonderful week doing it!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A true mix of questions today.

Hello Hodgepodgers!   With all the sadness in the world right now (especially the wars in the Middle East, and the shocking news of Robin Williams death), it's good to take a few moments to lighten up the mood.  The Hodgepodge is just that… a chance to keep our head above water and to consider all the possibilities of this life we lead.  

So, on with it….

1.  The best part of waking up is _____________. 

You know I have to say "Folgers in your cup"!   ha.    But, really for me I love to wake up early as long as I have had a good night's sleep - and walk outside with my doggies, grab the newspaper on the driveway, stand  there and hear the birds singing.    Then I go in and feed the dogs and cats - and make myself a cup of International Coffee's Cafe Francais.   Aaaahhhh.

2.  Given a choice, which animal interaction would you most like to experience - a swim with the dolphins at one of the several locations in the Florida Keys, a lion encounter ten minutes from Victoria Falls (Africa), or a day at a remote base camp high in the Big Sur wilderness via the Ventura Wildlife Society helping to track California condors? 

My hubby and daughter have done the dolphin swim - and they got the pictures of the dolphin kissing them.  It certainly looks fun and "harmless".   No way, no how,  would I enjoy a lion encounter!  And I have been to Big Sur, but not up into the wilds in the mountains.  I could take a day of that, but not overnight.

So - my answer is the swim with the dolphins.  

3.  What is something you fear about old age?  What is something you look forward to?  

Oh my!  I like to think I'm still "middle aged" but I am seeing the writing on the wall….or should I say, in the mirror.  What I fear?  Dementia.  Cancer.  Any other debilitating disease.   On a more vain note, I fear continued loss of physical looks and freedom.  I can still walk where I want, and do what I want, without more than an ache or a pain.  The mirror is not my friend anymore.  I don't like what the years are doing.

BUT…  I am blessed to be here.  I realize that.   So, as I look forward to old age I look forward to continued time with my hubby and with my daughters - and their lives.  Maybe one day grandchildren.  That would be awesome!!   I look forward to continued time to help others in need (as long as my health allows.)  I look forward to continued relationships with those I love (and like) and laughs and…I look forward to music.   Each day brings joy!

4.  Hot sauce…are you a fan?  On a scale of 1 - 10 how hot is too hot? 

I'm not a fan.  On that scale I think I'm only about a 2.  No thanks.   I have a sensitive stomach when it comes to hot and spicy foods.  

True story:  once when my family was having dinner at my sister & brother-in-law's home years ago he made a dish that was quite hot (in my mind anyway.) I can't remember the dish - but I DO remember the burning afterwards.  Both my mother and I snuck to the refrigerator after dinner and downed a glass of milk!  We didn't want to hurt his feelings - but our sensitive stomachs were churning!  lol

5.  It's been said children learn what they live.  What do you think children learn at your house?

Unconditional love.   For them - and for everyone who comes through our door.

6.  What's your favorite movie with a number in it's title? 

Off the top of my head I'm thinking about "Sixteen Candles."  Funny, sweet, goofy, romantic, coming of age - all wrapped up in one movie.

7.  Saturday (August 16th) is National Tell a Joke Day…    share one here.  

I am a TERRIBLE joke teller.  Seriously.    And… I don't ever remember them either. (Dementia?)  So, I'm passing on this one but I look forward to reading other blogger's jokes.

8.  My random thought. 

So, when I started out the venture as the Mother of the Bride a couple of months ago I thought "no, I don't need a wedding planner."   Now, as I am deep into the planning and prepping I realize that the week of the wedding and on the wedding day I will definitely NEED someone to take control and make sure everything is done right and on time.   So, yes, I have an appointment this afternoon to meet with a "wedding planner."   No, it's a woman - so it's not Frau-nnk (from "Father of the Bride")!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Keys to life...

This week's Hodgepodge mentions keys often.  It makes me think about a Pinterest idea I saw recently  for wedding receptions - yes, I'm in the wedding planning mode now.  I'm checking ideas, meeting with vendors, florists, etc.    The idea from Pinterest is to have a table at the reception filled with antique-looking keys with tags attached.  Wedding attendees can take a moment and write a "key to a successful marriage" on it. Kind of cute!    Maybe my daughter will like this idea!

In the meantime, here are the week's key questions.

1.  What would you say is the key to success?  

Success in life?   I think the key is to find ways that give you meaning for your life.  Don't waste your precious time on earth! So, work in a career that helps others, or volunteer when you can to better life for others.  In doing so, you improve this shared home we all live in - and you get a by-product of satisfaction and happiness.   You will have made a difference…big or small.  It all counts.  

2.  Have you ever been to the Florida Keys?  Any desire to visit that part of the US of A? 

Yes, I have been to the Florida Keys.  Many years ago when we lived in Atlanta, hubby and I drove down to Miami and spent a couple of days there… and then drove on down through all the keys (islands) down to Key West.  Memories of it?   The one road down and back is busy - and slow moving at times - BUT the scenery is beautiful to see and it's definitely worth doing once!  We spent a few days in Key West and I would encourage anyone to visit there.  We rented bikes and toured the island.  We went to Ernest Hemingway's home, we went to the "famous" southern most tip of the United States," and we enjoyed the local bars and restaurants - including Jimmy Buffet's original Margaritaville and Sloppy Joe's.

3.  When and where did you last see a real live donkey? Monkey? Turkey? 

Donkey - This past December we had a few animals at our "live nativity" at church.  There was a donkey along with a goat and a lamb.

Monkey - I guess it would be the last time I was at a zoo, which was years ago!

Turkey - We have some wild turkeys here in the low country.  I have occasionally seen them on golf courses, or just trying to cross the road without getting hit!

4.  An old Portuguese proverb says, 'Beware of the door with too many keys.'  What do you think this means?  Share an example of how this has proven true or false in your own life. 

I think the proverb means that if an opportunity, or a plan, or an event, has too many possibilities then be careful, because it might be harder to pick the right one.  If a person is given too many choices, it can be harder to find the one that "fits" or works for them.  

To simply it, I think about a mother teaching a child to pick out their own clothes to wear.  Instead of saying the child can pick anything from the closet and drawers, she can lay out two or three outfits and let the child choose from those.    As an adult,  if we don't have guidelines to help direct us, then we can  be tantalized by everything available - good or bad.  

An example in my life?    I can't think of one because I was given a few keys as a child, that I take with me all my life:  God, family, commitment.

5.  Besides your home, vehicle, and special jewelry, what is something you keep under lock and key? 

We keep a lockbox at the bank with the usual:  birth certificates, our marriage license, the house deed, wills, car titles, etc.   I also took pictures of our house and keep them there in case of a fire, or a hurricane.  

6.  When did you last get keyed up about something? 

If we are talking 'keyed up' in a bad way…then it's been awhile.  (Although my hubby might think differently.)  'Keyed up' in a good way?  I am anxious/excited/nervous right now as I plan my daughter's wedding.  I get excited, 'keyed up,' about traveling sometimes, and whenever I go to a live concert.

7.  Who thinks we need an easy question right about now?  Key lime pie…yes please or no thank you? 

Given a choice of desserts I will pass on key lime pie and take something made with chocolate.  I do not dislike key lime pie but I do not crave it.  I will say it's a light, refreshing summer dessert.  But, if I'm going to splurge and have a dessert (I don't very often) then I'd go for chocolate.

8.  My random thought. 

My post before this one is about football.  Read it and give me your opinion - that is, IF you are a football lover.  Do you feel different going into this season?

Has anyone seen the Reba video about praying for peace?   Take a minute and check it out.  She wrote a song out of her frustration with the wars going on, and feeling helpless about it.   I admire that she took her talent and has used it for a positive message.  I shared it on my Facebook page.  Other artists have joined in.  I think we ALL should!    I think we ALL need to pray for peace!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Are you ready for some football??

I have been trying to figure out how I feel about the recent events in national football.  In particular it's the behavior of the Ravens' Ray Rice who "allegedly" knocked his wife out with a fist to her head, and then dragged her unconscious body out of an elevator - seen on hotel security footage.

He's not the first professional football player to do something morally, and legally wrong.  And he's not the first to get what one many consider just a "slap on his hand" for the behavior.   Grown men who train all day to be tough on the field and who use words about "taking out their opponent" and "smacking the other team."   They are urged on by coaches, and trainers, and, yes, the fans!  

See, I love watching football.  I mean I really love it!  I love the rivalry in college football. I love the beauty of a quarterback and receiver working together. I love a play that outsmarts the other team.  I love watching a team push down the field, working play after play to make it happen.

I worry about concussions and other physical problems the players face - and that's for another blog post.  But, today I wonder how I should feel at the start of football this year.  How can I ignore what the players do off the field?  How can I support the NFL and the "powers that be" when they seem to look the other way?

I know this may sound strange, but I kind of connect what is happening in football with what has happened in the Roman Catholic church.  Both have had very morally wrong behavior and both have had people cover up that behavior.  Both have had "heroes" that have disappointed.  There's been  hypocrisy and there's been covering up.  

But, as I think about the priests of the RC church I have never given up on God.  I have not turned away from my core belief because of bad humans.    So, should I stop loving football because it also has bad people, making wrong decisions?   And, as a Christian person who tries to forgive… can I actually do it?  So, can I still watch football?  

I want to…     I want to watch football - and I probably will.     But I do NOT want to excuse anyone's behavior and I do not want to glorify the players.  

How do you feel?