Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Saying bye to 2015...

 Well, I decided to finish off the year with the last Hodgepodge from our leader Joyce.  Sure, there is a ton of other stuff I could be doing, but I like her questions and I have a quiet house right now.   So, here goes...

1. Share a favorite memory/moment from the week of Christmas.

One favorite moment was sitting on our "riva" dock with hubby, both daughters, my son-in-law, and both dogs... enjoying the day after Christmas together, enjoying the peaceful moment, enjoying the weather, knowing the busy-ness of the holiday season was behind me.

2.  If someone wrote a book about your life based on the past year, what genre would it fall under? What would the title be?

Good question Joyce!  My past year has been a beautiful year.  Thankfully there hasn't been a lot of drama (which for "book reading" isn't really good). I guess the book could be put into the "adventure" category since we had a big wedding happen, and a few trips, and many fun times at the riva.  Can it be made into a movie?  If so - I definitely would like it to be a musical!  I love musicals!!

The title?   "The Life and Times of the Fabian Family"  Sub-titled:   A lot of fun, a lot of humor, a lot of love.

3. What made you feel patriotic this year?

The 4th of July is a pretty big celebration around these parts.  We have a bunch of friends here (it's perfect beach and boating time), and our town has a parade.  We cook out and have an all-American day.   We usually try to do something special too - like read the Declaration of Independence" aloud, or talk about our freedoms, etc.

But, I think I personally I felt the most patriotic on Veteran's Day when I, as a part of our community band, played the National Anthem, lots of march songs, and "Stars and Stripes Forever" at a Veterans Day ceremony.  It was open to the public but most people there were vets and family members of vets.  I saw many men wearing their special vests and ballcaps,  labeled with the unit, the area, the war they were in. 

We can never know what they have experienced.  The bond they must feel!   God bless them for what they went through.

4. What experience from this past year would you like to do all over again?

Do over again to get it right?   Nothing.  But, do over again to enjoy it again?? That would be my daughter's wedding and the festivities around it (of course without the stress of it! ha)   I didn't get to spend time with so many that came to be there... and I wish I could have "stretched" out the day to visit, and dance more!!

5. What song lyric sums up or is a reflection of your 2015?

This girl is ALL about song lyrics!!    It's one of the reasons I am such a huge country music fan.  Country music has the best writers, and best lyrics! 

So...  here's a recent song from LoCash.  It's the "attitude" that I love so much in this song.  The joy in things.  (Obviously it's written by males so it's not gender-right for me.)   If you haven't heard it, take a listen.  It's a great happy song musically too.

I love my boots broke in, I love my Camo hat
Don't mind a little paint on my jeans, yeah I roll like that
I love driving my truck across the railroad tracks
If you hit it too quick, it'll hit ya right back
I love a fresh cut field with a first frost on
How it shines like gold when the sun turns on
I love the sound of them wheels with my baby singing along
When "Boys Of Summer" comes on
I love my small town world,
I love a country girl
I love a Friday night
Man I love this life
The sound of an ol' dirt road road
Rolling through mind
Man I love, man I love,
Man, I love this life
I love that county line bar where they all know my drink
The way she throws her hands up when that cover band plays
I love that taste of her lips when she's been sipping that wine
I still get drunk on her every time
I love my small town world,
I love a country girl
I love a Friday night
Man I love this life
The sound of an ol' dirt road road
Rolling through mind
Man, I love, man I love,
Man, I love this life
Man I love this life
Man, I love this life (I love this life, I love this life, I love this life)
I love that ragged old barn that my grandpa made
It was my whole world back in my innocent days
I love that little white church, out on 109
It's where I hit my knees and thank the lord for this life of mine
I love my small town world,
I love a country girl
I love a Friday night
Man I love this life
The sound of an ol' dirt road road
Rolling through mind
Man I love, man I love,
Man, I love this life
Man I love this life
Man, I love this life
Man I love this life
Man, I love this life
Myrick, Danny / Janson, Chris / Brust, Preston / Lucas, Chris
Now, I can NEVER leave out a Tim McGraw song.  His most current one (on the radio now) is "Sitting on Top of the World".   Part of the lyrics are...
Cuz when you got love, like we got love... I'm holding on to heaven, holding on to you.   When you got the one, like I got the one, any way you're looking it's a hell of a view!   Don't you know... we are gonna be sitting on top of the world!  

6. On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate 2015?  (10=stellar) Why?
Personally?  A 9.  (I didn't say 10 because who knows what the future holds?!?)

How would I rate the condition of America in 2015?   A 7 if we don't include the presidential candidate - political world (that would be a minus number. lol)   We have a better economy,  less unemployment, etc.  There are lots of numbers to list about ways America has improved.  But, the biggest concerns of course are the fear of terrorism from outsiders and from even those here in our country.   Helping the needy, better education systems.   There are ALWAYS ways to be better and safer - but I do not think we should be all gloom and doom like some "predict" and love to spew.

7. What part of the upcoming year are you most excited about?

I love when spring arrives!  I love the months of April, May, and June.  Nature goes into overdrive!  Everything is so beautiful! I love going to music concerts and festivals - and that's when they start up.  I love warm weather and summer activities! 

8. Insert your own random thought here. 

As I touched on above, there are certainly fears and concerns that we face all the time, but 2015 was a great year - and I hope 2016 will be just as good or better!  Personally, I look forward to the new year very much!!    I have decided my new year's resolution is to keep a "Gratitude Jar" and I will keep  slips of paper by it - and whenever something awesome happens I will jot it down and put it in the jar.  I will enjoy filling it up as the year goes along - and I think it will certainly help me keep positive appreciative, and hopeful.     Yes, I saw it on Pinterest.  It's a cute idea, and maybe when I have a down day, just by looking at all those pieces of paper in the jar, it will lift me up.  

So, here's to a happy, safe, healthy, fruitful year ahead to you, my reader!    I look forward to seeing you back here at the Hodgepodge in 2016!   Cheers!!!  

Monday, December 28, 2015

Early morning post-Christmas Day thoughts

Some thoughts post-Christmas Day and pre-New Year...

I am up really early this morning because my dogs were literally "dog-tired" yesterday and they slept and slept during the day... so, now they decided this morning/wake-up time should come before daylight.  (5:30am)     But, it's okay.  I also spent the night vegging in front of football games on TV - it was the first day of quiet in the house after the holiday gatherings. And, yes, I "may" have dozed a bit in front of the TV.  lol

So, right now, in the quiet, it seems like a good time to reflect a bit on the last 4 weeks.

*  I am always relieved when I have reached this point.  The shopping, the decorating, the traveling, the extra performances, and the food & drink indulging is over.   Phew. I made it.   Everything went off well.  There were no serious hitches.  Even my pre-lit Christmas tree waited until after Christmas day to lose the lights on the top third of the tree.

*  I thoroughly enjoyed the family times, and the special time together.   We were lucky to celebrate the holidays with extended family, and then with our own daughters and son-in-law - home for Christmas Eve and Day. 

*  Although some people want a cold, wintery Christmas season - not me.  I think our mild temperatures was a "Christmas gift" all in itself!   It was nice enough to do outdoor activities...we walked the beach, sat on the dock for happy hour, and took the boat out.   My kind of "southern Christmas"!! 

*  I did my best to keep my eye, and my heart, on the real reason for Christmas!  I can not say enough about the worship and time leading up to the celebration of Jesus's birth.  For me, it's a helpful way for me to stay in the right mindset.  I admit -  I get turned off by all the goofiness of the secular celebrations, and it disappoints me.  But, as a Christian, I plug along - and pray that others will step into a church and feel the real joy of the season.  I can't imagine Christmas without going to the night-time candlelight service, and hearing the verses from Luke read, and singing "Silent Night" and "Joy to the World."  

* The music!  It is always one of the best things about December.  I was a bit overloaded this year being in two handbell choirs, and in the community band.  I enjoyed playing, but it was time-consuming and I never got my own time to go listen to some of the other amazing live performances offered locally.  I wish somehow this great music could be spread out throughout the year!

*  Now, the next couple of days are quiet... so,  I get "itchy" to start putting away decorations and to de-clutter the house.  But, I am a traditionalist in the fact that I like to keep them up through the season... which goes through January 5th.   But, truth be told, some things will be put away to make the house easier to clean, and to return to "normal."  Plus, it just takes awhile to put it all away.  Maybe this will be the year I take the time to re-organize all the Christmas boxes before storing them away til next year.  Maybe.   

*  I watched "White Christmas" twice all the way through, beginning to end - and I saw bits and pieces of "Christmas Vacation."  I missed the Peanuts Christmas Special though.  ) :

*  Each year I tell myself I am going to "cut back" and "enjoy more" and I think I was able to do it.  I definitely spent less time shopping - and I never once stepped foot in a mall!  I shortened my Christmas card list.    I didn't bake this year.  We had plenty of sweets around anyway.   I narrowed the house decorations down to just the main rooms.   And the outside lights turned out good this year, and they should be rather easy to take down.

*  I only had one migraine!  YEAH!

*  All in all, it turned out to be a great month of preparing for Christmas - and the days right around it were wonderful!  We had family together in church,  and wonderful meals shared, and plenty of time for hubby's games and activities!  Good weather, good times!  

* And, the angel said unto them, fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be for all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.

   Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

My last Hodgepodge for this year.

Welcome to the Hodgepodge!  It's almost Christmas, so the questions below have to do with it, and with end of the year and life choices.  Read on.

1. What's your biggest 'first world' problem?

Right off the get-go I'm not sure I understand our leader Joyce's question.  Is she asking me what I think is the biggest problem for the US and other advanced countries?   But she says "your" not "our" problem.  hmmmm

I will try to answer.   I think one of the biggest problems is the loss of respect for each other.   We don't have to be friends with everyone but we must respect each other, and value each other, and allow for differences.  If we could do that then we would work towards bettering our world, and we would be less stressed out.  Less combative.  Less in it for just "me" and less fearful of being taken for a ride, lied to, scammed, etc.   R - E -S - P -E -C -T....  sing it like Aretha!!

2.  Each year Time Magazine names a 'Person of the Year', someone who has 'for better or worse...done the most to influence the events of the year.' It was recently announced they've named Angela Merkel Person of the Year for 2015. You can read more about this year's selection here. Your thoughts? If you were in charge, who would you declare Person of the Year? 

I am happy with the choice of Germany's PM Merkel.  As I heard names being considered for the honor I thought how some made an impact this year for sure, but for bad reasons.  I don't think we should "reward" those who do evil and are destructive.  Merkel has been a solid, and even leader to the people of Germany, and she has reached out to all of Europe, partnering in many causes. 

Oh, and I personally like her because she is the daughter of a Lutheran pastor - and so am I! 

3. Do you have a nativity set in your home? If so share it's history and how you display the pieces.

Yes, I do!  The nativity I have is one I purchased about ten years ago.  I grew up with one in our home and I remember as a kid playing with it... moving the Mary & Joseph, and the wise men and shepherds.  I "play acted" the Jesus story with it!  My dad still has that one - and I think he keeps it up year 'round on a little shelf in his condo.

I wanted one in my home, for my daughters to see.  So, the one I bought, though it's a bit more fragile, is very beautiful - and I love it!  I think having a nativity set up in the home is a constant reminder of what Christmas is all about. 

4.  Do you make an extra effort to give back in some way during the holiday season? How do you encourage those who need encouragement this time of year?

Yes, I make an effort to give back - but not just at this time of year.  I try to give ALL the time. Extra effort now?  Perhaps... with special little gifts, and a few extra monetary donations to charities.  Each year I take an "angel" from our angel tree at church - it has the name of a needy child in our county. I purchase gifts for the child so he/she have some things to open on Christmas morning.

I think we all take turns encouraging each other.  A few weeks ago I felt the pressure of the upcoming season.  I seem to get it every year right around Thanksgiving.  So much to do, so many expectations. People here - and elsewhere - encouraged me.  I try to do the same when I see it in others. 

5. Who is your favorite person to shop for? Why?

Favorite?  Oh, no you don't!  ha!  I will not call one person a "favorite" but, there are certainly some people I buy gifts for that are "easier" to shop for than others.  My daughters are always easy. I know what they like (and need.)   In general, men are a bit harder to shop for...don't you think? 

6. What's the last delicious thing you ate?

I'm easy to please!  Last evening for dinner I had a Lean Cuisine Spaghetti in meat sauce.  It's my favorite quick, easy, dinner for one!  I sprinkle on some parm cheese and it's delicious!  A little salad - and a little wine - and I'm all set!

7. The best way to spread Christmas cheer is________________.

Well, for me, as I have said before, it's a lot about the music!  So, I like to spread Christmas cheer performing in the handbell groups, and in the community band that I am a part of - and it just so happens that tonight is our Holiday concert.  Locals:  it's at 7:00pm at the Pawleys Island Community Church and it's free! Come out and hear "Sleigh Bells", "Mary Did you Know," "Celtic Carol," "Little Drummer Boy," and much more!   It will get you into the Christmas spirit!!

8. Insert your own random thought here. 

Today is my birthdayI'm now 59.  How did that happen?   I know we all deal with aging, and so today I think about what ALL my 59 years have been like... and how blessed I am, and how wonderful the people in my life are... and how my health has hung in there and I really don't feel the number that I am.   Sometimes I look in the mirror and I see the number, but sometimes I don't.  Inside I definitely do NOT feel the number!  I am enjoying life...and I have found ways to see the good in just about every single day.  Even among all the bad out there, the sadness, the sorrow - life still is amazing!  People are really mostly good to each other, and most share a human bond. Aging is one of those bonds.  We are fortunate to go through it together. 

Have a wonderful Christmas Hodgepodge readers!  Next week the Hodgepodge is on vacation to celebrate.  See you in 2016!  

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Christmas is a coming! What's funny... or not.

Good morning everyone. I'm running on a tight schedule on just about everything right now.  Busy busy busy!  But, I still want to stick to my Hodgepodge routine.  So, here it is!

1.  Many families have a story they love to tell every year around a holiday. Does your family have one? Are you the star of that story, or does another family member take center stage? Share your story if you want.

I can not think of a specific funny story or snafu that happened during a Christmas past.   And, really, I guess that's good!   Who took center stage at Christmas?   In the family that would be dad - he was a pastor and it certainly was a busy time of year for him!   So, our family arranged our gift opening, the Christmas meal, travel to see relatives, etc. around the extra church services.   

2. Are you afraid to speak your own opinion?

In general, no I am not afraid to tell you how I think or feel. But, I hope I do it with a bit of compassion.   I have learned over the years that everyone should be listened to, and everyone has something to say.  And, I think to stay quiet at times can be wrong.  

I have a couple of issues that I am passionate about and I like to use Facebook as a platform to express it - but again, hopefully I am not too obnoxious. (Sorry if I am.)   When talking one-on-one I have no problem disagreeing and expressing my point of view if need be.   But, I do try to speak with kindness and make clear I may disagree on the issue, but still like the person. 

3. Pantone has announced the color of the year for 2016, and for the first time have chosen two shades-rose quartz and serenity. Hmmm...did you know serenity was a color? You can read the thought behind their selection here, but essentially it's blending the warmth of rose quartz with the tranquility of a very soft shade of blue. So what do you think? Are these colors I'd find in your home or wardrobe? Will you add something in these shades to either place in the new year?

 I clicked and went to the website, and I have got to say I like the subtle mix of colors.  Very calming.  Are they in my wardrobe now?  Not really.   But, if the color mix starts popping up on clothing in the spring fashions, I can see buying a top or dress in those shades.  

4. If you could be in a Christmas carol, which one would you choose? Why?

What?  Sorry - Joyce.  Strange question!  ha

If I could be IN a carol?   Well, I am NOT dreaming of a white Christmas.   And I don't want the weather outside to be frightful.   I don't want to "let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!"

I will go with "We wish you a Merry Christmas - and a happy new year!"  

5. December 9th is National Pastry Day. Will you celebrate? When did you last purchase something from a bakery? What's your favorite treat that falls under the heading of pastry? Do you make it yourself or buy from the professionals?

I will not "celebrate" the day.  Did you know yesterday was National Brownie Day?  These national food days can kill you! lol      The last item I purchased at a real bakery was my daughter and son-in-law's wedding cake this past April.  

I am not a big pastry person.  I can take it or leave it.   So, I can't think of a "favorite."   And as my past posts have said, I don't bake  -  but a few batches of cookies right before Christmas, and a pumpkin loaf or two.

6. When it comes to holiday decorating_____________________________.

So, I have this "quirk" about me when it comes to holiday decorating.  I don't like to decorate the house inside and out, the same way two years in a row.  I like to be a bit creative and fresh each year. 

Each year I put out the lights differently... and I change it up a little bit.  (I don't like seeing a house decorated year after year the same exact way. Boring.  See question #2: I'm not afraid to express my opinion.)

Inside I like to place the tree in a different spot, and use different decorations.  Over the years I have accumulated so many ornaments that I can't use them all at one time.  So, I "change it up" - and that goes for the mantle and other spots around the house.

7. When did you last laugh so much it hurt? Explain.

I can't name one specific incident, but often my best laughs come from some goofy thing my hubby and I have said to each other.  After all these years of marriage we know what makes us laugh!

Stephen Colbert makes me laugh out loud, even when watching him alone.  Does it hurt?  Not really. But, I do enjoy his zaniness! 

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

I have said this to a few friends the past week:   I wish the wonderful live holiday music concerts and events could be spaced out on the calendar more!  It seems every place offers them the first two weeks in December.  There is SO MUCH out there to experience right now, but just not enough time to experience it all!

I am in a community band and am in two handbell choirs. We are extremely busy right now!  Between rehearsals and performances, I have something musical just about every single day!  Sometimes two things happening on a day.   It laves me with little time to go hear all the choirs, all the special music leading up to Christmas!    I get that everyone wants to do it NOW, and then relax and enjoy Christmas.  But, wouldn't it be nice to have some concerts after the 25th?  (Remember: there are 12 days of Christmas.)  

Expressing my opinion again!     But, then, that's what the Hodgepodge is all about! 

Stay sane... breathe....    take it in.     Have a good week!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Keeping it real...

Hello December! Hello Hodgepodgers!  Take a breath, be still... and take time to read. 

Yes, this month can get so crazy, but it's good to keep a routine happening, and for me one routine is the weekly Hodgepodge.  So, here it is. 

1.  Did you watch The Charlie Brown Christmas Special Monday night?  Who's your favorite Peanuts character and why? 

I did not watch although I planned to and I turned the TV on at 8:00pm.  But then I realized it was a 50th anniversary special of the classic show and it had lots of "fluff" so I decided to watch "The Voice" instead.  We own the Charlie Brown Christmas Show that is the classic - half-hour long - on DVD, so I will certainly watch it at some point. I do love it!

My favorite character is definitely Linus.   Out of the mouth of babes!  He is young, but wise.

My second favorite is Charlie Brown because he is so relate-able and TRIES all the time. I love his innocent efforts.

"Most psychiatrists agree that sitting in a pumpkin patch is excellant therapy for a troubled mind."  - Linus      Would you agree? 

Well, if it weren't cold in the patch,  then yes I would definitely agree!  Being still, enjoying nature, having time to think about all that is good and God-given...  there is always a need for quiet time.  It's not just for children!

2.  Describe a sound from your childhood.  What does this bring to mind? 

I have a few...        in hot weather I remember the loud "whoop" when we turned the fan unit on in the hallway ceiling.  The slats opened in the ceiling when the fan started, it was loud - but it keep the air circulating because we didn't have central air.  It brought relief.

I remember the sound of  Lawrence Welk's program at my Grandparents.  It seems it was on TV there often!  I don't think I ever watched the show in my own home, but I always did at my grandma and grandpa Fogt's house.

And, I suppose I think of hearing trains from my youth.  Again, at my grandparents (they had tracks right behind them), and also in several places I lived growing up.  In rural Ohio trains still run today, and whenever I visit there is a chance of having to wait as one passes on the tracks.  I was just there over Thanksgiving and we had to wait - but it was a short train.   I never even see them - let alone HEAR them - here where I live now.

3.  You've won a trip to a winter wonderland. Would that excite you?   Which one of the following would you most want to experience (or which would you dislike the least)?   See the Aurora Borealis in Norway, stay in Sweden's Ice Hotel, go dogsledding in Lapland, Finland, take a winter safari in Yellowstone, or celebrate Winter Carnival in Quebec?  

If I won a winter wonderland trip I would "re-gift" it for sure!   I do my best to stay away from cold weather and snow.   So, no thank you.  I would definitely pass on the trip.

Of the ones listed above, the least miserable sounding trip would be the Carnival in Quebec...I think.  Why?  Because they have to have warm restaurants, bars and hotels, right??   I was in Quebec once - in June - and it was lovely.   I suggest staying at the Hotel Frontenauc. It's old and beautiful!

4.  Who or what keeps you humble?

Well, in general, I suppose I keep myself humble.  I don't think I have extra special anything to boast about... and I try to remember that what talents I do have to offer comes from God and should be used for His favor.  My husband can keep me humble too....  with "jokes" about my lack of cooking skills, etc.   And that's really alright.  I know I do okay with some things BUT certainly not everything!

5.  What part of preparing for Christmas do you like the most?

Wow.  Easy question. Tough answer.    Maybe it is why I'm not a big fan of this time of year and I always feel some dread.   As I noted above, I am not a good chef or baker...so I will make some Christmas cookies but I don't enjoy it.  I worry they won't taste good. The big holiday meal? Ditto.   I do the decorating - and undecorating...a task.  I put together the Christmas cards each year, and mail them...  and it's okay to do. I LOVE to get cards in the mail, so I need to send them. I love to hear from people and to see some pictures. 

Hubby and I share in the Christmas shopping. I worry that I don't get enough for everyone.  Then there is always one or two I forget, or wonder if I should buy for or not.   Then I think about our over-indulgences, and those REALLY needy.     I wrap some of the gifts, but hubby does some too - usually the items he buys. 

My favorite part of preparation???  It's got to be the music rehearsals and extra performances.   The Christmas music is beautiful!!  I love playing it - and I enjoy listening to it. 

6.  Gingerbread - yay or nay?  Is making a gingerbread house part of your family tradition? 

I am not a big fan of the taste of gingerbread.  It's just okay.    As for making a house, yes, we have bought the kits in the past and we have made them.  When my daughters were younger we did.   It's not really a "family tradition" as such.  I do not have plans for one this year.

7. What's one thing you want to start, do, or complete before the calendar rolls into a new year? 

We have a new garage with an office above it under construction at our river place.  I hope it is fully completed by the new year.  We really hope to have it done by Christmas!  It's been delayed by the usual... waiting for inspections,  sub-contractor scheduling issues, etc.   The drywall is being painted right now. The floors are to go in next.  We still need the bathroom fixtures in and connected.  Electrical finished.  Then furniture put in it.   Don't know if it will get done by the 25th!  Or the 31st for that matter.

8.  My random thought. 

I don't mean for this Hodgepodge post to be a downer.  I struggle with these weeks leading up to Christmas each year.  Don't get me wrong! I'm all about celebrating the birth of the baby Jesus, and I love having my daughters and my son-in-law at home!  I love the music.  I love the children's joy at the Christmas pageant and church events.   Each year is the same with the expectations that I probably put on myself.  And each year, I tell myself FOCUS on the real meaning of Christmas and leave the other stuff behind.  

As I said at the beginning of this post, breathe,  be still at times.  Keep to a routine when possible. 

So, I'll see you here next week!  


Sunday, November 29, 2015

My calendar is still on November.

It's Sunday evening of Thanksgiving weekend.  The end of a four day holiday.   For those who know me well, you know that I have trouble this time of year....  because the days get crazy with activities, and holidays run together for most people.   But, I like to keep my celebrations separate.  One holiday at a time.   So, note I said - it's still Thanksgiving weekend.   It's still November.

Yes. Today IS the first day of the Advent season, and I have written about this period of time before.  On the calendar it covers the 4 Sundays before Christmas Day, (and the days during those weeks).  For many Christians it is the start of a new church year and the time to prepare for Christ arriving as a little baby in Bethlehem.

So, yesterday I took some time and I put away my fall decorations: the ceramic pumpkins I have, a few baskets, a scarecrow, some artificial autumn leaves. 

Today the house is quiet...and there is not a decoration up for Christmas yet.  (Well...except, my husband and I carried the artificial tree from our storage area to the front porch.   It's there. )  I will take my time and decorate the outside tree, and I will put up other Christmas lights outdoors.  Each year I like to do something different.  So, I'm thinking about what I will do this year.

Indoors, no Christmas decorations are up yet.   Hubby and I will soon put up the tree... but I plan to wait until December.  I know people think I'm weird about it.   But, I find that if I put everything up too early the "magic" of the lights and the  pretty colors lose something by Christmas Day.  Plus, the Christmas season is 12 days long (remember...the song?  "On the First Day of Christmas my true love gave to me..."?) and it STARTS on Christmas Day.  It continues until January 6th.

So, I take my time, and I fight the ways of society to decorate BEFORE Thanksgiving... and I try not to rush any of it.  It's hard.  It seems few people like to "wait"....   but, that is what Advent is all about.  Waiting.  Preparing. Being patient. 

It's how I do it.  It's how I keep it together.  I take these days to address Christmas cards, to buy presents and then wrap them, to decorate...  to prepare the home.   To prepare my mind.  To enjoy the music of the season.  To breathe it all in. 

The years are going by pretty fast.  I really don't like rushing them along.   One holiday at a time - thank you very much,

Welcome to Advent.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Wishful thinking...

I'm heading out early tomorrow morning so I won't get this week's Hodgepodge on Joyce's page for sharing with other Hodgepodgers, but I like the questions and will share on Facebook.

1.  What's something you wish you knew how to do but feel it's too late to learn? 

Play the guitar.  I just don't have the patience (and tough fingers) but I wish I could "instantly" know how to play the guitar.  I admire those who can play, and also sing along.  Some of my favorite times are when I can sit and listen to someone who can entertain, and move me, with their voice and guitar. I admire that talent!

2.  Your least favorite thing to shop for? 

For myself:  it would be shoes.  I have big feet (I"m 5'9" so I get that I don't have dainty tiny feet - but  I don't like it anyway.)  I hate seeing cute shoes on display in stores in a size 6 - and then when I ask to see them in a 10....they look totally different!!  Clunky. Heavy. Yucky.  Also, because I am tall I do not like shoes with much of a heel.  I don't want to be taller than I am.  So, that limits my buying options.  It's not fun.

Pants & jeans are my 2nd worst thing to shop for - for the same reason.  I have to get "long" cuts and that limits my choices.

3.  How has the celebration of Thanksgiving today changed from when you were growing up? 

I don't recall big celebrations in our home at Thanksgiving, although I'm sure we always had a nice dinner - with a turkey and all the trimmings.  Christmas was the time we would get together with relatives, and go hang out at Grandma & Grandpa's house.   

As an adult each year Thanksgiving is different - sometimes I travel to family in Ohio, and last year I went to my daughter's place...  and I have stayed at home too.  When I lived out West we had a "Friends-giving" with others who could not be with family members due to distance.   So, I have celebrated many ways... and all have been good.

4.  What's something that when other people see it, it reminds them of you?  Explain.  

This is a toughie.  I suppose when people see pugs they think of me because I have two pug dogs (that are my babies!!)  I get things on Facebook from friends that have anything to do with pugs!   I guess also when people see something about country music they think of me!  They know I am a big fan and love to go to lots of live concerts.

5.  If you could guest star in a TV show, what would it be and why? 

I have been fortunate to sit in the audience of some talk shows.  When I lived about an hour outside of NYC I went with girlfriends to a few shows... including The View, and Live with Regis and Kelly. Years ago we went to Maury too.   But to star in??    A tough question.  I love Jeopardy but would be worried I'd not buzz in on any answers fast enough!  Embarrassing!!

How about... I would like to guess star in "Southern Charm" because it's filmed down the road in Charleston and the people on it are such "characters"!!  They would be fun to meet - and I'd love to go to their "in" spots in the Holy City.

6.  Have you ever farmed or spent time on a farm? Are there farm stands in your little corner of the world - and do you make a point to shop there?  If so, what item do you particularly like to buy from a roadside stand or farm shop? 

I have never lived on a farm.  And, I really haven't spent much time at all on a farm.  It would be enlightening to do it!      Yes, we do have produce stands all over around here.  We have many in the summer that have fresh corn, watermelon, tomatoes, etc.   I should stop and shop at them, but I really don't.    If I did... I would get fresh corn!  We also have fresh shrimp sold on corners here, because we are near the ocean and the shrimpers come in and sell to tourists and local residents.

7.  What's something you've experienced lately that made you feel a sense of awe or wonder? 

Just this past Sunday I played handbells with a group at our local Methodist church (I am Lutheran but help out the ringers at both churches.)  The Methodist choir is large and wonderful!  This past Sunday they sang a piece that gave me goosebumps!  It was beautiful!!!   I then went over to my church and heard my girlfriend sing a beautiful solo during our service.  Again, beautiful - and I was proud of her!   I was "awed" twice last Sunday morning!!

8. My random thought. 

It's just before Thanksgiving, so my thought is that I hope everyone has a safe next couple of days and that the terrorists decide to leave us alone.  May we all be free to celebrate, and to give thanks... and be free of worry!

I also hope for a miracle that the South Carolina Gamecocks can beat their in-state rivals Clemson this Saturday. It's the annual BIG game, and the Gamecocks have won 5 years in a row... and this is REALLY Clemson's season. They are strong and will most likely walk all over Carolina.   I'd love to be able to watch an interesting game... with a close score.  But I doubt it will happen.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!! 


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

New words, old songs, things to be thankful for, and gravy on top!

It's the Hodgepodge questions - and I noted that although we have 7 listed, within each is quite a bit more to answer.  This could get lengthy!

1.  What's surprised you most about your life, or about life in general? 

Personally I think what has surprised me is the joy I feel outside around nature.  Growing up I never really thought about it much, and paused to find enjoyment being outdoors.  When I was a kid we used to camp as a family and it's been a running joke about "surviving" those times.   Don't get me wrong, I do not want to camp now - I want a soft bed and modern bathrooms - but now I love a beautiful sunny day and fresh air.   I guess these are things I took for granted as a young person.

Life in general?  It amazes me how all our brains can work so differently.  We are ALL made alike, but we each have unique individual brains in the head... and we have such different thoughts, beliefs, and feelings.  Get 4 people in a room and 2 will believe one way, 2 the other.  It's good - and it's bad.  It brings on brainstorming and progress, many wonderful things - but it also creates friction and incohesive-ness.  As a kid I lived in a small world with "people like me" but as an adult I know the world is so HUGE with endless differences.  We MUST accept differences!

2.  Among others, these ten words were added to the Oxford English Dictionary this year...   awesomesauce,  beer o'clock, brain fart, buttdial, cat cafe, fatberg, fatshame, hangry, MX (gender neutral), and skippable. 

Your thoughts?  Which word do you find ridiculous?  Which word would you never in a million years say out loud?  Which word would you most likely use in conversation? 

So, yes, I had to look up a couple of them.  And... hey, they are not all single words.  They are phrases.  But,  anyway, I find the most ridiculous one is awesomesauce.  It reminds of that silly commercial...the two sisters on the phone.  Sad that I can't think of what product is being advertised. But you know the one sister says it - and it's annoying!

Which would I never in a million years use?   beer o'clock.   Why?   Cuz I'm a wine girl!!   haha

Which would I most likely use in conversation?   Skippable.  Actually I thought it was already a word!  And buttdial - I have already used that word! It happens to me!

3.  Do you like gravy?  Is there a food you'd rather not eat unless it comes with gravy?  Do you make your own or buy the canned or store-made variety?  Turkey and gravy,  sausage gravy,  mashed potatoes and gravy, country ham and red eye gravy, biscuits and chocolate gravy, pot roast and gravy...  which one on the list is your favorite?  

Do I like gravy?  YES!    I probably would not eat turkey and dressing without it.   Mashed potatoes is also definitely better with gravy on them.

I do not make gravy (remember, I do not spend time cooking.)  I have bought the jarred types of gravy before. It does fine.  But I rarely buy/use it.     And, of the variety listed above, my favorite is mashed potatoes and gravy.  Do you remember as a kid making a little bowl in the middle of the potatoes to pour the gravy in?  Now I think that's considered not classy. But it was fun.

4.  Do you have a plan?   Do you need a plan?  Have you ever had a plan fall into a trillion pieces. Explain. 

A plan?  I think our leader Joyce is asking if we have a life plan.   When I was younger I certainly did.  And, I am happy to say that although the path has not always been straight, my life has gone as I had hoped.

I think it is certainly helpful for young people (teens, young adults) to have a plan... for some direction on choices they make with school, careers, families, etc.

Thankfully I have not had a plan totally fall apart and have not felt the need to go back to "step one."  I know people who have had to do it.  I know it can be tough.  Faith, persistence, and patience are important if it happens.

5.  November 19th is National Play Monopoly Day.   Do you have the original or some version of the game?  Do you enjoy playing Monopoly?  How likely is it you'll play a game of Monopoly on November 19th?   Ever been to Atlantic City?  Ever taken a ride on a railroad?  Is parking free in your town?  Last thing you took a chance on? 

Yes, we own the original board game of Monopoly....AND we have a "Wine-opoly" game set too.  (Back to #2 - I like my wine!!)   And, yes, I enjoy playing it... but it requires a large chunk of time to play it.  We used to play on vacations.  We would play and leave out the board - and then keep the game going all week.

I can say with certainty that I will not be playing Monopoly on it's national day.

I have been to Atlantic City a few times.  It's worth a visit.  It is not all that great though.   And yes, I have been on a railroad.  Many years ago I took Amtrak from Baltimore to Miami and back.  I have been on railroads at amusement parks - and subway cars in large cities and airports!   Yes, parking is free in my town.

Last thing I took a chance on?   Well, I guess it's with some of my music ventures.  I am an average flute player but I get asked occasionally to play for events, with pieces out of my comfort zone. I just got asked this morning if I'd play at the local Methodist church on a piece - and it's for the same Sunday I will be there playing handbells.  So, how could I say no?

6.  A song you like that has the word (or some form of the word) thanks in the title, lyrics, or meaning? 

In my twenties I loved all of John Denver's music... so I have to go with "Thank God I'm a Country Boy."

I also love Keith Urban's song called "Thank you"... a song he wrote to Nicole Kidman.  Very sweet and romantic.

7.  What is something you're taking for granted that when you stop and think about it, you're grateful for? 

Oh my... there is so much!   I am grateful for my health, my hubby, my daughters, my family, friends, my pets, where I live, for nature, and for music.  I try and stop each day and thank God for all this in my life.

Right now as we all are stunned after another ISIS day of terror, I am thankful for first responders, and for people who continue to love when there is so much hate.  It's sometimes easier to hate and think it should be an eye for an eye.  I'm thankful for people with cool heads and warm hearts.

8.   My random thought. 

Winter is around the corner.  It's still lovely here in South Carolina.  Today is sunny and in the upper 60's. Tomorrow will hit the 70's.  I think the weekend will get cooler - but not cold.  I am wondering how many of you look forward to winter?   Have you had your first snow yet?  I saw on the National News this morning that places out west are seeing it.  Stay safe if traveling!  Have a great week!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Veterans, flu shots, early Christmas decorations

Welcome to this week's Hodgepodge of questions - and my answers.   For what it's worth - read on!

1.  In two or three sentences tell us what Veteran's Day means to you? 

Despite what political agendas may bring our country to war, and what the reasons are that the US  decides to go into battle, I admire the men and women who have stepped forward and enlisted in military service.   Most go into it with a true honorable belief that they want to serve and protect this country.   Veterans experience things we can never imagine.   War is scary.  They deserve our thanks  and our respect.  Veteran's Day is the day to thank a living military person.  

If you reading this and are a vet, THANK YOU!!

2.  What's your favorite film with a patriotic theme woven into the storyline? 

Patriotic doesn't have to mean a war movie, right?  I do not like to watch any war movies.  When I was younger I watched "Born on the 4th of July" and "Private Ryan" and a few of those.  But, they are too upsetting.  I worry that many of the war movies "glorify" the experience.

So, I guess I will say "The Patriot" because it is such a history lesson - and I love that so many scenes were filmed down the road in Charleston.  

3.  Flu shots - yes or no?   If you answered no, do you plan to get a flu shot?  If not, why not?  Have you ever had a flue shot? 

I have only gotten a flu shot once that I can recall.  I do not work in a hospital, or daycare, or office environment where it is mandatory.  Thankfully I do not have a health condition where a doctor feels the flu shot is of great importance for me.   I have heard so many "rumors" about them not being the right concoction each year, or if you get it too early it won't last all winter... or too late is, well, too late.  

I was in a CVS a couple of hours ago and saw the signs - and saw three people waiting in line to get the shots.  At that time I didn't want to wait and I really wasn't sure if I wanted to get it or not.

The flu is not fun to have - for sure.  So, maybe I'll wander back in to CVS at an off time and try to get my shot. Guess it won't hurt me any.

4.  I've seen lots of people posting pictures of their Christmas trees up and decorated.  Many stores have had Christmas on display since well before Halloween. Red cups are back at Starbuck's, sans the holiday decor, and that has some people up in arms.  What are your thoughts on all the holiday ruckus this second week of November? 

Every year the decorations go up too early.   Every year!  Too early!!   I know it will not change but I really wish that we kept the start of the Christmas season to Advent - which is the start of the church year, and the time of preparation for the baby Jesus's birth.   We will never return to it but I wish it were so.  I'm usually tired and over with Christmas on December 26th.  Too much too early.

As for the red cup hoopla...I think a couple of comments have exploded into this whole social media thing.  It's really rather silly.   Get over it people.

5.  What 'critter' are you most afraid of encountering unexpectedly?  Why that one? 

I have said it before: snakes are my biggest worry/fear living here.  They are definitely around. I have marshland right behind me.  Snakes occasionally show up in my yard - and I have 3 kitty cats I keep outdoors AND I place moth balls around my house foundation.  Occasionally I see one - and I can not ever be sure if they are poisonous or not. People say you can tell by their markings or the kind of eyes they have.  Well, I freak - and can't stop and "analyze" it.    I have a BIG fear of snakes!!   Always have.  I remember in high school when we had an assembly and a guy brought reptiles and snakes to show....and he carried a huge snake up into the bleachers where the students were sitting.  I was petrified.  It was horrible.  

6.  Do you like building things?  What's the last thing you built? 

Our leader Joyce is in the building process right now - and therefore, the question!   Hubby and I have bought two homes in the past that were new "spec homes" and needed finishing off, so we picked flooring, bathroom fixtures, etc.    Right now he decided to knock down our carport at our "riva cabin" and put up a garage - and while at it, an apartment above it.   I have left it in his hands unless he specifically asks me.   The project, like most building projects do, has grown - and there are so many choices to make.  

I'm at a point in my life now where I let things slide... and I know it will be fine. Whatever he picks.  I like to decorate - and may try to step in more when we get to that point.

7.  What are you most grateful for that brings beauty to daily life? 

My back view - off the kitchen/master bedroom/Carolina room. We back up to old ricefields that are now marshy - and therefore it's natural and beautiful.  We have spanish moss hanging, live oaks, cypress trees - a real Southern view - and I love it.

8. My random thought. 

I love the new Tim McGraw song.  Have you heard "Humble and Kind"?

We all just need to be...humble and kind!



Monday, November 9, 2015

Rainy days and Mondays....

Rainy days and Mondays....  

As the song goes they can get me down.  Today is one of those days and I'm thinking it's a good one to sit and blog and try to wrap my brain around what's good and what's not-so-good this time of year.

* It's a good "stay in my sweats" day and I can do some organizing, cleaning, throwing out...   stuff. Got too much stuff.

* It's a great day to crank some music!

* It's a lousy day for the dogs because they won't go out and do their business.   Yes, we have pee pads down for just this sort of day!    I miss taking them on a walk - because it's good for all of us!  I like to look at nature, to enjoy fresh air, and so do the pugs.

* I can on-line shop.  I'm thinking about Christmas presents.  Christmas cards. Can you believe it's not very far away?

*  I have been trying to think of a good Christmas craft to do - and share.  Maybe today I will get inspired and start one.  My Pinterest craft page has so many ideas that I have pinned!  Oh - I think some wine corks just might be involved. 

* I can practice my flute.  (I wrote that for Carson - just in case he secretly reads my blog.)

*  I can pray.   As our church goes through so many changes right now, I think extra prayer is needed to keep the faith, to keep up enthusiasm, and to keep moving forward.

*  I can exercise.   Ugh.   My treadmill has a mind of its own and changes speeds without me touching anything now.  I have had it for many years but I  think it's almost time to junk it.   Still, I can do SOMETHING!

* I will read!  I'm halfway through a wonderful book.  "Ordinary Grace" by William Kent Krueger.  

So no excuses.  What is it about putting something down on paper (or in this case, typing it on to a screen?)   I am a visual person... I need to SEE a list, than tackle it, line by line.  

Rainy day and Monday - It's not going to let you get me down!  

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

It's November now. Are you grateful?

It's a rainy day here, so it's a perfect time to sit at my computer and answer today's Hodgepodge questions. Many of them this time are about the month of November and about being grateful.   So - I am grateful it is raining and NOT snowing where I am as we start this new month.  I am grateful for other things too.   Want to know more?  Read on.

1.  Besides Thanksgiving, something you are looking forward to on your November calendar? 

November is not my favorite month as it really seems like the start of things I don't particularly like...   colder weather, grey skies, too much worrying about the holidays, too many expectations, lots of expenses, fear of disappointing, just a really long spell of time until spring arrives. 

As I think of my calendar for this month I think I look forward to things that have to do with music and with football.  I have a bunch of rehearsals scheduled this month as both the community band, and the two handbell groups I am in, prepare for Christmastime.   I enjoy the rehearsals.   And, I love football on the weekends.  I know it sounds weird but there is something comforting about watching games, maybe it's because I get myself comfy on the couch, and relax. I also enjoy the "football talk" among some of my friends.  

2.  If I gave you a thank you card right now who would you send it to and why? 

I wrote one yesterday and mailed it to thank our hosts for the Halloween dinner we attended. We had a fun time dressing up and we had fabulous food!

Today?  I think I would/should write one to my hubby.  In this rain he is off and traveling (flying) to upstate New York for business.  He really doesn't complain much about any of his travels and having to deal with weather changes,  the annoying people, and all the hassles of going somewhere by airplane.  He certainly handles it much better than I ever could. 

3.  Of the breads listed, which one's your favorite...  bagel, cinnamon, sourdough, garlic, banana, biscuit, pita, Naan, or plain old fashioned white bread? 

Well, I had to look up Naan bread. It is Indian flatbread.   Of the ones listed, I think my favorite is warm, buttery, garlic bread!   But, the question is a bit confusing because bagels and biscuits come in many flavors.  I certainly like a warm cinnamon bagel slathered with cream cheese too!

4.  What's something you have in abundance?   Is that a good thing?  

Plenty of love baby!!!      But, if our leader Joyce is asking about a "thing" I guess I will say I have an abundance of everything!  Too much!  I half-joking/half-seriously say to hubby that he better not die first and leave me with all this stuff and then I have to figure out what to do with it all!     You know, you can't take it with you!!

5.  November 5th is National Love your Red Hair Day.   (Who knew?) Are there any redheads in your family?  Who's your favorite redhead?  

Natural redheads in my family?  I don't think so.  A few of the women have been redheads at times, but only there hairdresser really knows for sure?!

My favorite redhead?    I think many will answer Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett.   They are two names that come to my mind quickly.  There is a country music singer Eric Pasley that is a red head.  And of course, there is the comedian Carrot Top!

6.  The travel website BusBud recently calculated the most Instagrammed spot in every state.  Are you happy with your state's #1?  (Check out www.businessinsider.com/most-instagrammed-location-in-every-state-2015.)   If not, what do you think is the most photographed spot in your state?  Have you snapped a photo there?

South Carolina's place listed "most instagrammed" with photos is Myrtle Beach.  First, that's a pretty broad answer.   I noticed some of the other states had more specific locations... like a ball park, or a zoo.    In terms of state beauty, I will certainly disagree.  I think there are many places in Charleston that are certainly more photogenic.  Lots of people snap a pic of the Ravenal Bridge there too.  And even William Brice Stadium (home of the Carolina Gamecocks) seems like more people instagram pictures while there...especially since mostly young people are the instagrammers.  

So, I am not happy with the answer.  And, yes, I have taken pictures in Charleston of the beauty of the Battery, and the homes, etc.  I have taken a picture of the Ravenal Bridge.  And, I have taken pictures while I have been at a football game at William Brice Stadium. 

FYI:  I am on Instagram if you'd like to follow me.  

7.  What's something you learned about yourself this year that you're grateful for?  

I have learned I can do a lot of the planning, and running around, and co-ordinating a wedding AND have it turn out beautifully!  My daughter got married in April and because she lives in another state, I did much of the "leg work."  I hired a wedding consultant at the end to take care of things the week of the wedding... and especially the day of it.  I wanted to be the Mother of the Bride on that day!   But, I am grateful that everything came together so beautifully and that it was such a gorgeous day for the couple and for everyone who attended.

8.  My random thought.  

The news lately has been all over the video of the student in a Columbia, South Carolina school getting violently pulled out of her desk.  After hearing my daughter talk about some of her situations teaching in an urban high school last year, I certainly feel that we need to hold our students more accountable for bad behavior.  Consequences!   This student had been asked/then told numerous times to co-operate and she did not.  

I think the education system (administrators, teachers, support staff)  has to be allowed to toughen up the classroom situations without fear of dismissal. And, parents - oh parents!  Stop just siding with your kids!  If Susie Student got in trouble I can guarantee she was not completely innocent! 

My daughter left teaching because the students in her freshmen and sophomore classes were so out of hand that she could not teach them, after working hours on lesson plans.  She became so stressed out - scared for her own safety, and fearing a nervous breakdown.  She left the profession.   I was certainly in agreement with that since she's my daughter and I want the best for her.  But, the education world lost a wonderful, excited new teacher - because students were unruly, unmannered, disrespectful, and mouthy. 

I think it's a sad state of affairs in many schools in America.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Halloween Hodgepodge.... if you dare!

This week it's all about things I love, and about things that scare me! It's this week's Hodgepodge questions.  Are you easily frightened?   If not, read on!  lol

Happy Halloween!

1.  Are you comfortable with silence? If you are home alone do you like silence or do you need background noise?   Do you seek out times and places to be silent?  What's your favorite place to find silence/be silent? 

I am completely comfortable with silence, and some times I really crave it!  I try to have a bit of it in each and every day.  Of course there are outside noises, but some I really enjoy - like the birds singing, and owls hooting.  I hear the rain falling right now.  I get tired of hearing neighbors' leaf blowers, mowers, etc. and that's when I often turn on my music at home.  I also like music on while I'm cleaning.  I sing while I clean!  And actually I hum a lot - without even realizing it sometimes.    I'm definitely not a daytime TV person anymore. 

I also do not like to have just "background noise" going while I am at home or driving...  even music.  If I turn music on I have the volume up high enough to really hear it and to "listen"to the music and lyrics.  My car is my special alone place to really enjoy my music!

My favorite place for silence?  It's got to be on my back deck.  I can sit there every day - as long as the weather allows...I enjoy the quiet and I read a book, or I check messages on my phone.  It's very relaxing.

2.  October 28th is National Chocolate Day.  Will you celebrate?  How?  Let's say you can have one of the following right this very minute...  a cup of hot chocolate, a strawberry dipped in chocolate, a bowl of plain chocolate ice cream, or a slice of chocolate pie...  what's your pleasure? 

I will not intentionally celebrate this day.  Oh yes...I like chocolate and when I order a dessert I tend to pick something chocolate-y.   But, I rarely eat it anymore.  I'm not even buying Trick or Treat candy this year because we never have kids come to the door - plus, hubby and I will be at a costume party that evening.      But, if I magically had something chocolate placed in front of me right this minute I would like to have a bowl of plain chocolate ice cream. 

3.  How do you feel about blue jeans?  Favorite thing in the world or nope, don't own a single pair??   How often do you wear blue jeans in a single week?  Do you own a blue jeans jackets? 

I LOVE blue jeans!   It's part of my basic wardrobe!  Not only do I have many pairs of blue jeans (pants), I have a pair of blue jeans shorts, and I have a blue jeans skirt.  I have two blue jeans jackets (different colors of blue, and different lengths).    I don't know what I would do without jeans!!  In the summer I wear the shorts and skirt, and during cold weather I really rely on my jeans pants for most days when I'm just kicking around.  

Styles come and go.   Now it seems the trend is for leggings again... and boots.  But, I  still love my jeans and I pair them with just about any top or sweater.

4.  Are you superstitious?   If so, in what way? 

No I am not.  I looked up the definition...  it's having an excessive, unfounded belief or reverence for the supernatural.      I believe in God, I believe in having free will, and I believe in prayer.  I suppose some people call it superstition when they "will" something to go a certain way and then it happens...  but I don't.

5.  If you had to come up with a costume using only things you have on hand right now, what could you come up with? 

Actually, hubby and I are doing this.  Well, actually I am.  Hubby ordered a black cowboy hat and he  is going to the Halloween dinner party on Saturday dressed as Tim McGraw.  He's going to wear black jeans, boots, and tight t-shirt!  I'm going to draw on his arms the same tattoos that Tim has on his arms.   Me? I am going as a crazy Tim fan!  It's not a stretch - at all! ha.  I have several Tim t-shirts... and a have old tickets I plan to pin on me... and other Tim paraphenalia I have collected over the years. Yes, I'm in his fan club - so I have stuff.  (Don't judge me!!)   My "costume" will be totally of items I have already.    I'll be swooning over Tim/my hubby all night long!

6.  What scares you a little?   What do you do when you feel scared?  

Flying scares me.   I shut my eyes and say the Lord's Prayer over and over during the assent.   Then I try to keep busy with a book, or I just close my eyes and try and take a nap.     Heights scare me in general.  I try not to go up high - outdoors, on a ledge, that sort of thing.   No thank you.  

Confrontations scare me.  I do not like seeing people mad and out of control.  So, I try to stay away from places where that can happen.  If I am there...I flee.   I know I should stay and try to calm down the people, or at least separate them... but in this day and age, it's too dangerous.  You never know who is carrying a gun.

Guns scare me a lot!

7.  Perhaps today will be the day I _________________.    

It's raining here so I plan on changing out my clothes in the closet.  I will put away summer-y skirts, and tops.  I will pull out some of my sweaters I have put into plastic bins up on the top shelves.   This is depressing. 

I hope to make a Salvation Army pile too.   What's the rule?  If you haven't worn it in 3 years then toss it?    Here goes!

8.  My random thought. 

I am now in two book clubs.  One is in my neighborhood and one is at my church.  If you have some suggestions for a great book or two for a club to read and then discuss, I'd love to hear them.   Thanks!   

Have a great week - and safe Halloween!    


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

"Back to the Future Day"

Time marches on.   We are already half-way through October, and into the last of 2015.   I won't say how close Christmas is getting because it's just too depressing to think about.  Right?    The days and weeks go by so quickly!!

Just yesterday was summer, and now it's fall, almost winter. 

Can you tell that this week's Hodgepodge questions get you thinking about the passage of time?   For good and for bad.   Here are the questions and my answers.  As always, please feel free to "play along" and respond.

1.  October 21st, 2015 is "Back to the Future Day."  Did you see the movie?  The Sequels?   In the second movie, Doc takes Marty into the future to prevent Marty's future son from making a mistake.  They leave 1985 and land on a "skyway" on October 21sr, 2015.   So, tell me, what were you doing in the fall of 1985?  

I loved the "Back to the Future" movies!  Especially the first couple of them.  (How many sequels were there?)  They are "timeless" and can be enjoyed over and over.

In the fall of 1985 I had just been married a little over a year and I had just become pregnant for the first time.  (Our daughter was born June 3, 1986.)   Hubby and I were living in Redding, California because he took a job with Coca-Cola running the sales & distribution operation there.  I worked full-time at the local TV station in Redding, called KRCR-TV.  I was an administrative assistant and helped various people in the company...sales staff, the president, and on-air staff.

2.  If time travel were possible, would you want to go to the future?  The past? 

Given the option I think I would like to go to the future to see my grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.  To see what happens to family once I am gone.  It would be fun to see them as they live out their days.  (Perhaps heaven will give me a peephole to do that.)

I know enough through history books to understand the lifestyles of the past, and all the hardships at various times.   Although it would be interesting to meet ancestors before me, I think looking to the  future would be more fascinating.

3.  We're not flying cars, but some of the technology imagined in the movie has indeed come to pass in real life 2015 - flat screen TVs on the wall, tablets, fingerprint recognition, video conferencing, online banking, 2-D movies, motion- controlled video games, drone cameras, and smart glasses (Google glasses.)  Do you worry technology is going at a rate so fast we'll soon be unable to keep up with it's demands?  Do you think the internet does more harm than good? 

Second question first... the internet DEFINITELY does more good than harm!  What a amazing tool for learning!  It's such an easy way to stay in touch with people far away.  It really gives you the world at your fingertips!

Do I worry about it?   I know there are people out there who abuse technology and steal information.  Those people will find a way with anything to 'beat the system' and live outside society's rules. But I choose not to worry about them.

 I do not worry that we can't keep up with all that is new.  So far we are doing fine and I hope & believe it can continue.

4.  Your favorite dish prepared by a slow-cooker?  Your favorite fast food? 

I rarely use my slow-cooker.  But, I like when I make a batch of chili in it.    My favorite fast food?  I think it's Chick-fil-A. I love their chicken tenders, waffle fries, and ice tea!

5.  No time like the present,  down time, face time, passed for time, in the nick of time, make time, mark time, or just in time...    which timely saying most relates to your life right now? 

I have a few answers.   I try to live my life as 'no time like the present'...  to try and enjoy NOW.  I recently Face Timed and enjoyed the new technology very much!  I need to remember to use it more often!  And, lastly, I am making time to do all I want to do.

6.  Tell us about a place you went as a child or younger person that's no longer there or is now something else.  How does that make you feel? 

The church where I got married, St. Timothy's Lutheran Church in Timonium, Maryland is no longer the same.  The congregation shrank in size and so it closed up.  The building is still there.  I'm not sure if another denomination came and bought it, or perhaps it is something totally different. 

 And, my wedding reception was held at Shane's Restaurant in Timonium.  It also is no longer there.   It was a lovely place 'back in the day' but as often happens restaurants have good years and bad ones. It eventually didn't make it and closed down - and I think the building might even be gone now.

It's sad that both spots are not the same.  Time marches on.

7.  Describe your comfort zone. 

It's my home!   It's the place to chill alone,  or to be with people you like, to get good rest in, to keep my personal needs, and it's the place I always feel relaxed in.     As Dorothy said "There's no place like home!"

8.  My random thought. 

Home is the best - and I can't help but think of those nearby who lost their homes in the recent flooding.  Many organizations have stepped in to help, but still, that spot of comfort is not there anymore.  It will take awhile to clean up, or rebuild...and for those people to be back into a normal home life.

Time is our friend - but also our enemy.  Last week we wrote of patience and letting time go by to wait for good things.  But, it also ages us and brings aching and pain.  I don't like that part of it... and hope I can handle it "gracefully."   So, today's Hodgepodge is a great reminder to make the most of each and every day! 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Patience is a virtue.

It's back again. It's the Hodgepodge, the weekly list of questions for us to ponder and answer personally.    Have you been patiently waiting for another week to come and go?  Or do the weeks go by too quickly? 

This week we explore our patience...   or lack of it!

1.  What's something that has recently 'tried' your patience? 

Oh my.  Living in today's world can 'try' my patience!  I especially feel it when things or people don't act quickly enough, or just move on.  I know I get impatient with people on the road, and I get annoyed with "slow walkers"...    and I TRY to remind myself all the time that they have issues I am not aware of, and that I need to be considerate of that.  

I think I struggle the most when it comes to patience with the other drivers on the road. You know, the ones that go slow in the left lane, and the ones that don't use turn signals, and the ones that park and take up two spaces... and...  the ones who seem oblivious with reading signs.... and...      ( :    The list goes on! 

God give me patience!!

2.   Do you think patience comes to us naturally or is it something you have to learn as you grow up?   On a scale of 1 to 10 generally how patient are you?  (1 = I blow up at the drop of a hat, and 10 = I've got all the time in the world.) 

Patience is something we all have to learn as we grow up!   Think about children wanting everything "NOW" and saying "I WANT IT - GIVE IT TO ME!"   If you are a parent you have certainly heard your kids 'demand' a toy, or a treat, or to go somewhere NOW!!    But hopefully we all learn that not everything is about "me" and we learn that if we want to succeed and be happy in this world we have to have patience.

Good things come to those that wait!     Right? 

I think I am an 8.  I never blow up nor do I have road rage. I never physically lash out at strangers.  I do not show myself being mad at others for being slow, and usually I get mad at myself for the thoughts I have about them.  And, truly, I'm most upset with people on the road when I am in a hurry because perhaps I am running late and feeling rushed.  I have learned to reduce my stress by allowing plenty of time for myself.  

3.  Share a time when you thought you could fly.  Or a time you wished you could fly.  Or a time you felt like you were flying. 

I have to say this question has me a bit baffled.  I assume our leader Joyce is referring to a feeling like I could 'do anything'... or I could soar in an ability, or I enjoy a moment like I"m on 'top of the world.'   
Let's see... I have felt like I could 'do anything' when I am having an emotionally centered day, and when I feel connected to nature.  When I feel all is good.   

Times I have felt I could soar or feel on top of the world?   It usually involves music - playing it, or listening.   My best moments are when I have been able to be part of something musical that can touch people, or is a beautiful moment in a church service or concert.  I "fly" at live music concerts!  I remember when my daughter was in the county orchestra and they got to play at Carnegie Hall in NYC, and it was a "flying" moment - just watching them.  Such joy!   I also feel that way when I attend concerts and see unbelievable artists - and can "get lost in the moment"...and don't want it to end.

4.  Your favorite song with the word fly in the title or lyrics, or your favorite song tht relates to flying in some way? 

Oh - wow!   So many!!!  Right now there is a wonderful song by Maddie & Tae simply called "Fly" and it's a wonderful message to young women out there, sung by two beautiful & talented young ladies themselves.    The refrain is... 

"So keep on climbing, though the ground might shake
Just keep on reaching, though the limb might break.
You've come this far, don't you be scared now...
'cuz you can learn to fly  -  on the way down."

And you know,  I have to include Tim McGraw's song "Live Like You were Dying" that has the lyrics of watching an eagle fly... 

And also Keith Urban's song called "I Could Fly" with these lyrics:

"I wanna thank you
for the love that you give me...
and the sun that you put in my sky.
But you don't know
how much you lifted me up...
I feel so alive...
that I could fly    -  I could Fly!

5.  What's in your picnic basket and where are we picnicking in your neck of the woods this time of year? 

Well, if I packed a picnic basket (ha) then I think we could certainly enjoy it on our local Litchfield/Pawleys Island beach - or in the boat on the Black River at sunset.

6.  Carpentry, electrical, plumbing, landscaping...  which skill would you most like to possess and how would you put that skill to use today? 

I wish I knew more about gardening, and have considered taking classes at Brookgreen Garden nearby where I live.  They offer classes to get a Master Gardener certificate.  I would like to identify landscaping shrubs and flowers better and I would love to do more at my home.  Now, it's a hobby that I really enjoy.

Today I am going out to weed a bit and I love being outdoors and working in the dirt!

7.  What is something you think is too expensive to justify buying lately? 

I lack for nothing.  In other words there isn't an item I would like to buy that I "want" but don't have.  I'm at the time in my life that I can say it's true.  I have a hubby that provides more than enough.

But, in general, I think there certainly are things out there that just cost too much... some cars, some houses, etc.  Big ticket items with too many dollar signs attached.  

Oh - and this:   I remember going to the Atlantis (Bahamas) about 8 years ago and thinking everything there was outlandishly priced!  Everything!  Rooms, all the food, things to do, gifts, etc.   I could not feel good about being there and "wasting" so much!  I was floored by how many families were there...and the money it must have cost them!    Don't get me wrong: it's beautiful, and it's got lovely water park areas, and an inside & outside aquarium, a big staff, etc.   But - really!  It was crazy expensive!

8.  My random thought today. 

We are doing well here in South Carolina and I thank everyone for checking in.  It will certainly take some people time to dry out, and they will need federal assistance to repair or rebuild.   Thank goodness it is there and in place for them.   

It's a beautiful sunny day here today!  I hope you have it too... because as Keith Urban sings "it has lifted me up, and I feel so alive... that I could fly! "

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Autumn bucket list.... or flooding buckets!?

Welcome to the weekly Hodgepodge.  As many of the regular Hodgepodge readers know, I live in South Carolina.  We have had quite the week - with epic record-breaking rains and flooding rivers. It's not over yet. The sun is to come out today which is wonderful but the rivers are still rising and some bridges are unsafe, and roads are still a mess.  We have a dock on a river and it's already under water.  The coming days will be interesting.

But, thankfully this Hodgpodger has been dry and safe... and I am praying for those not so fortunate. 

To get life back to normal, let's continue with the Hodgepodge questions and my answers.

1.  It's October so let's get this out here first thing...  have you jumped on the all-things-pumpkin bandwagon?  How so? 

No, I have not.  When I drink my coffee I don't like adding any kind of flavors.  I am not big into lots of foods that are now pumpkin-tasting.  I like pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving and that's about it.   Sorry.  Just not a fan.

2.  "We have more power than will; and it is often by way of excuse to ourselves that we fancy things are impossible."   Francouis Duc De la Roshefoucauld

What's something you once thought impossible, but in hindsight see as more a matter of lack of will?

Wow.  I have to ponder this question.   If I understand the quote than I think it says that sometimes we really CAN do something, but we just don't have the drive, or the desire, or energy... and therefore we think it's impossible.  Am I on target?  Close?

There are certainly political issues that I think fall into this category.  Often (most times!!) it is too hard to get a collective agreement to go forward and make a change.  Oh Congress!!!   It seems impossible for that reason. 

I also think personally I have times when I don't feel I have either the intelligence, or the physical power to accomplish something - so I don't try.  Maybe if I'd try anyway I might succeed.  Maybe not. But I will never know if I don't try.   It's my will vs. my power.   I suppose I could do more manual labor around the house...  but I don't have the will! 

3.   The rose is America's National Flower, but every state also has it's own.  Are you happy with yours?  If you were in charge, what would you declare your state's flower? 

The South Carolina state flower is the Yellow Jessamine.  It's really a vine that blooms, and it is found in springtime around the state.   I don't have an issue with this choice.  I could think of some other flowers to qualify also... like Lady Banks Roses (beautifully little yellow tea roses on a vine), or the hibiscus that bloom so beautifully here along the coast.   Also, honeysuckle.  It's so fragrant!   I am fortunate to live in an area that has some beautiful flowers much of the year.

4.   What have you lost interest in lately?  

Well,  I have written this before but I often lose interest in most TV drama shows.   I have lost interest in going out to movies since 1) I am more selective in my viewing choices, and 2) I can watch movies at home so easily.  It is not an "event" like it used to be.   I have lost interest in travel.  Not that I was a big traveler before, but I used to enjoy it...now I like being home because I love my surroundings.  I don't crave travel, and I don't like the hassles that go with it.

5.  In your opinion, who's the best living musician? 

Oh my!!!  What a question!!   And, it's a very difficult one to answer!  I admire SO many musicians.  I am so in awe of their talent,  their dedication and passion.  Hmmm.  I think to qualify as "best" the musician must write AND perform music well.  So, being a songwriter is important along with being a wonderful artist with an instrument.  

You know I love country music, and part of the reason I do is that I love how a musician can write, play, sing, interpret, emote their own music.  To do it all!  What a skill!  What a gift!   In the country music world I put Keith Urban into that category.   The man lives music.

I am not as familiar with names from other genres.  I know Justin Timberlake fits in terms of being an amazing writer, singer, musical instrument performer.  Even dancer (although I put dancing into a different category.)

I will be very interested to read who my Hodgepodge friends name as the best musician.

6.  S'mores - love 'em or no?  Ever make them indoors?  Last time you sat around an open fire?  Are making s'mores and sitting around a fire pit on your autumn bucket list?  Do you have an autumn bucket list? 

S'mores - I can leave them. I'm not a big fan of the marshmallow mess.  But, saying that, we keep s'more makings at our "riva cabin" all the time for others to enjoy.  We have a large fire pit there and usually at night when a group is hanging around it the s'more makings come out.   The last time?  It was probably just a month or so ago - over Labor Day weekend.

I do not have an autumn bucket list - and really, s'mores are made at our fire pit year round! 

7.  Your favorite small town?  Why? 

I think of a small town as being somewhere off on it's own, and "charming."  It is attractive because people come to sight-see.  So merchants decorate, and the town has a "back in time" feel.  The last one I visited like that was Beaufort, SC.   We were there about a year ago and the downtown was closed for a community children's Halloween parade. It was SO adorable!   The town sits right on the intercoastal waterway so it gets visitors. We were there for the day and a night, and we enjoyed walking the old neighborhoods, and we enjoyed a restaurant along the water.  

8. My random thought. 

I guess I will end like I started this week.   Many places in the US get hit with natural disasters, be it tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, or flooding.   This is our state's time to come together and help each other through the next weeks as we recover from the devastation left from the "thousand year" rain and floods.   Some lives were lost, and many people lost property.   It's so very sad.  But, we will rally... and help each other.   Just say a prayer for those who need it right now.

Take care - and stay safe everyone!  

Friday, October 2, 2015

My blog - my opinion.

You know the expression..."it's like a broken record."    Well, that is how I feel about the gun violence, and in particular the mass shootings, here in the US of A.    I concur with what President Obama said yesterday at his news conference after the shooting at the community college in Oregon.

Our President said: these events are becoming like a bad broken record.  And, because so many are happening we Americans are getting used to hearing about it on the news.  We are getting numb to it.  Oh - it happened again.  Oh my. Then we go on with our lives.

Well, I vow to anyone reading this that I will not allow myself to stop feeling the pain of each person innocently killed by someone using a gun.    Yesterday I thought of the word "calling" because it came up in a fellow blogger's post I read.   I immediately thought of how I am a member of our church "Call Committee" to search for our new pastor.   But, today, the word is speaking to me on the subject of gun violence.  I feel called to fight for those who have been killed senselessly.

Oh - I have been an advocate of tightening gun laws in America, and I have joined my voice with others on the need for a way to turn around this country's mindset on the whole gun industry.  The lure of guns, the availability of them, the freedom of carrying concealed weapons just about anywhere and everywhere.

I have been concerned about it at my own church - which has a preschool attached. I was concerned when my daughter was teaching in an urban high school (she is not there anymore).  And guess what?  Last Sunday I went to a local movie theater, and yes, the thought even went through my mind there.  Could it happen here like it has already happened in towns in America?  

I know the NRA is strong and that they influence politicians with unbelievable amounts of money and power.  (Lobbyists... a topic for another post!)   But I think that we can be stronger at the polls, and we can be louder than we are now, and we can make a difference. We can not shrug our shoulders and give up.  It's too important.  Each life killed is too important.

I know, I know.   It's not guns killing people - it's people killing people.  It's the whole mental health issue.   That's what many like to spout.  Well, my answer is this.  We will NEVER find, treat, and handle every single person who has some mental health issues... some get them severely, some not as much, some are born with mental issues, some get them in this world we live in.  We need to do our best to support mental health research, and to help those we do identify.  Absolutely!!  But, it will never be the way to end the gun violence.   People fall through the cracks, money continues to be an issue for help, the stigma of mental health keeps people hidden.

When the massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School happened and innocent, young children were shot and killed, I thought how appalling that this happened and that the shooter had guns in his own home.  It made his sick mission so easy.   How can we ever let that happen again?  But it did... and it did... and it did.   I am a FB "friend" with a site that honors the life of one of the little boys lost on that day. His family keeps him "alive" on the page showing old pictures of him, and telling those who read it what a wonderful son, grandson, and brother he was.   It hurts me to see.  The kid had freckles, and a gap between his teeth, and the prettiest curls in his hair.  He had his whole life ahead of him.  His parents and family & friends will forever be missing him.  

We are not doing enough to stop another child dying this way. 

Those who say it's our right and freedom to carry a gun in America -  you know, it's in the Constitution. Well, I say when it was put in there 200 years ago it was never ever intended to allow all of us to own and carry the way we do now.   You are twisting the meaning.  You are selfish - and defiant for the sake of "being right."  

The need for self defense?  How about teaching love - and peace early on?  How about using that NRA money for early childhood programs that will teach values, morals, and self-control?  We could take ALL that the NRA spends and make an impact - and take away some fear.  Take away greed.  Take away the need some feel to protect themselves.   It won't happen quickly.  We got to this horrible situation in America over time, so it will take time. But it can be changed.  It can be improved.  We need to start now. Today!!

We can NOT shake our heads and throw up our hands.  My daughters are too important to me - and so are your kids.  Grandkids.   Our way of life in America is threatened by this gun environment.   We have gotten to the point where "guns rule" and it's not a game - and it's not who we should be. 

Again, I vow to speak out - and I vow to VOTE only for those running who promise to improve gun safety in America.  How about you?