Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The end of May...

Hello Hodgepodge friends!    I hope you all had a nice Memorial Day weekend and took a minute to think about the soldiers who have "given the ultimate sacrifice"  over the years.  I like the Facebook quote going around that the best way to honor them is to promote peace in this diverse world.

On with this week's questions...

1.  Did you do anything 'memorable' this past weekend? 

I had a memorable time in many ways!  I was fortunate to have my daughters and my new son-in-law with us over the holiday. We spent part of the time enjoying food and drink together; we did some boating; and we met up with the wedding photographer and looked through all the professional pictures from the big day.  It was such fun!   My Facebook friends have seen some of them online.  I get a little carried away!  

2.  Ronald Reagan is quoted as saying - 

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream.  It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same."   

Your thoughts?   Do you somehow acknowledge and appreciate the freedoms you enjoy?  Did your upbringing contribute to that sense of appreciation?   If you're a parent, are there specific things you do to pass on this sense of responsibility and appreciation to your children in regard to the freedoms they enjoy? 

Oh my.  Joyce - this is a pretty heavy topic and I know my thoughts as a person of peace is not always in sync with so many that are rooting "USA USA!".   I will try and explain myself.  I love this world - and I try to love all people...   I prefer to start there.  I do not like to separate myself from others in other countries and I sometimes feel being an "over the top" gung-ho American can be that way.  It becomes an "us and them mentality."

I am THANKFUL to God for my blessings - for being born in to a family that lives in a land that observes freedoms and strives for equality (even though it is still has many issues.)  I am thankful to live where we have a political system that allows free voting and freedom in speech, etc.   Again, we still are a long way from it working right.   But, it's the best there is so far

Now, as to President Reagan's quote...  it confuses me a little.  Is he saying that if we don't teach children about freedom & equality that it will go away?   Hmmm.  Yes, leaders do become too powerful, and sometimes a few can use horrible scare tactics and keep people down.  But,  I think human beings in general prefer peace over war. They prefer sharing over inequality.   They prefer everyone to attain happiness.  That is what is in our genetic makeup.   At least I hope it is.  

What have I as a parent done?    Again - I hope I have lived a life promoting peace, and used myself as an example of how to live peacefully with others, even with those who are different.  That's why we have the "freedoms."   To be happy together - not apart.   And where do I get my example to follow?   Jesus.   I do not get it from a political system...    although some systems are closer to following Jesus's teachings more than others.   

Heavy.    I like that Memorial Day falls on the calendar the same time as Pentecost.   Pentecost celebrates people receiving God's gift of the Holy Spirit so that we can learn to live together, to unify, to put our eyes and actions towards the real land of milk and honey.

3.  Loudest noise you've ever heard? 

It was probably the really loud <<<<BANG>>>>   when fireworks went off right over my head at a 4th of July fireworks show.

4.  What was the last thing you ate that might be considered 'junk food'?   Did you enjoy it? 

I had some Hershey chocolate kisses 2 days ago....and YES I enjoyed them!  

5.  When was the last time you were somewhere the crowd felt 'packed in like sardines'? 

Last September I went to a Darius Rucker concert with a girlfriend.  She wanted to get there early, to get in line early, to get right up front by the security fence in front of the stage.  I was game!   And that's what happened!   As soon as the doors opened we ran right up to the front...  and got our spots by the fence.  We had a GREAT view of the show - in fact, we were SO close we could feel sweat and spit!  lol    We were packed in...     but it was fun!!

6.  Are you organized when it comes to packing for a trip?  Do you make a list weeks in advance or toss items in last minute?  Are you a carry-on sort of packer - or do you need an entire suitcase for your shoes? 

I am an organized person in general, so I am also an organized packer for a trip.  I never wait until the last minute because I do not like the stress, and I do not like forgetting things that I will need.  I'm not neurotic though - so I don't start a list, or start packing weeks in advance.   I fall somewhere in-between.

As for how much I pack...  I certainly don't like to lug heavy bags around, or worry about having the right pair of shoes for every outfit.  I try to pack "mix and match" clothing, and I like to pack my bags neatly.   Oh - and because I don't like to travel anywhere it might be cold, I find a few tops & shorts, and some flip-flops work!!!   (  :   

7.  What was the last sporting event you attended in person?  Did your team win?  Did you care? 

I think the last sporting event was a Carolina Gamecock football game at William Brice Stadium, Columbia, South Carolina!   It was the season before last.   We tailgated of course!  We made a whole day of it.  We also celebrated hubby's birthday at the same time.   Did the Gamecocks win?  Yes, I think so!!   Do I care?  Absolutely!!

8.  My random thought. 

I leave you today with a picture from my daughter's wedding last month.    What a beautiful day it was!!


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

What inspires you? What makes you laugh? Some of today's questions.

Hello friends! 

I never know how many people stop by and read this each week, but if you are checking in, then "thank you" and take a moment to respond. I love to read your answers too!

Here are today's Hodgepodge questions with my answers...

1.  Did you make someone laugh yesterday?  Was it intentional? 

I certainly hope I did!  I try to laugh each day, and I hope I also make others laugh.   I got to "toddler-sit" yesterday morning and the little guy made me laugh - and smile a lot. 

I get laughs and share them on Facebook each day.  I love some of the jokes and cartoons that get circulated online.  I also watch clips of some of my favorite shows from the day before... I usually watch Jimmy Fallon "funny moments" the day after his show.  I also still laugh out loud at some bits on "The Daily Show" - and now on "The Nightly Show."

You got to laugh everyday!  Make it happen! 

2.  What's a simple question with a complicated answer?

Why can't we all just get along?

3.  Rhododendrons or azaleas...  you have to choose.  Are either currently blooming in your yard? 

I will go with azaleas.  They are magnificent when they bloom - so bold, and full!  We have beautiful varieties here in my little part of the world.  I like that I have several types in my yard,  and that they bloom at different times, so I have color often.   Here's a picture of some in bloom in my backyard right now.

4.  May 21st is National Waitstaff Day. Have you ever worked as a waiter/waitress?  How would you rate the experience?  What was the best/worst part of the job? 

I have never worked as a waitress in a restaurant.  I worked as a fast food employee in high school, first at Burger King, and then at Ponderosa Steakhouse.    That was close enough for me to get an idea of the work that waitstaff does, and the little pay they receive!  

I also know through other experiences of dealing with the public that it is NOT easy!  You get all types of people for sure!  Some customers are appreciative, but some are bossy, or down right mean! Also, some have special requests, and others have issues with food quality or something beyond the waitstaff's control.   It's a "thankless" job most times.   Little pay - and relying/living on tips.  

Since today is National Waitstaff Day maybe we can all throw a few more bucks their way if eating out for lunch or dinner!

5.  What fashion trend for women should be outlawed?  How about for men? 

I first immediately thought of what to outlaw for men: speedos!!   I live at the beach and let me tell you there is nothing attractive about a man in a speedo, even a man that is fit (not over-weight. )  Those tiny pieces of lycra and spandex hide nothing.  Oh my!

As for women, I would like to outlaw low riding jeans.   Here's the thing with them:  if you have a little pouch of a stomach, or some fleshy hips, it hangs over the jeans.  If you don't have a thin model's body it looks like you were squeezed into the pants.  Also, I think they create stomach aches!  It's not normal to have tight-fitting clothes around the lower belly.  It's just not.   So, for both the look and for comfort, I say burn 'em all!! 

6.  Name a writer who inspires you...  now tell us why. 

Can I say that most writers inspire me?   I have always wished I could be a writer who can put down words and sentences to inspire others, or going back to question 1, to make someone laugh.  It's such an art - such a talent!   So, I admire writers that can do this...that can get you so caught up in a book you can't put it down.  Or a writer who can see something in everyday life and make it special, that can describe it in such a way you can "touch" it.   I love a writer who can weave a story and make you hurry to get to the end, but then be disappointed when the book ends.  

Fiction writers... Pat Conroy, Robin Cook, John Grisham.  I just finished "Me Before You" by Jojo Moyes (it's for Book Club tonight) and it's a great read about two people struggling with very different issues, but learning to lean on each other... and to see the best in each other.  I can't wait til tonight's discussion!    I love historical books too... time period books that teach the reader about a place and time, to experience life then. 

I really can not name ONE writer!  The whole ART of writing is amazing.  Poets.  And of course, lyricists!!  Those who put beautiful words, inspiring words, to music - that is the best!!  

7.  What well known quote or saying sum up your plans for today or this week?  

If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all.  And so today I still have a dream.

- Martin Luther King Jr.

8. My random thought.

It's easy to feel up and happy in May.  The birds are singing, the flowers are blooming! The days are sunny and longer, and the evenings are soft and breezy.  What a lovely month of the year!

You can throw open the doors and windows.  Take a walk, or ride a bike.  Play golf, enjoy any sport outdoors! 

Enjoy it!!!     Have a great week ahead!  


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Hodgepodge - and the living is easy!

Welcome to this week's Hodgepodge!   Some week's questions are easier than other weeks.  I scanned the list and thought, oh yes, I can answer these easily.  How about you?   Give it a try!

1.  When is your next big deadline?  What's it for? 

As most know I had two major deadlines just pass.  First, was April 25th, the day of my daughter's wedding.  I had been working on it for a good ten months or so.   The second deadline was our church's annual spring Garage Sale, that I am some-how in charge of each and every year.  You know, once you do it, NOBODY wants to jump in and take leadership away!  But, really... next year:  anyone?  Anyone?? 

I think my next deadline is my annual pilgrimage to Nashville for the CMA Festival.  This year it starts on Thursday, June 11th - and goes through that weekend.   It's my next trip anywhere and I am looking forward to the music experience from morning to night each day!    Summertime only has GOOD deadlines...  dates on the calendar for fun get-togethers and such.   Nothing in my horizon is a "daunting" date - and that makes me happy! 

2.  May is National Barbecue Month. Do you prefer cooking indoors or out?  What's the best thing about a barbecue?  What's the last thing you cooked on an outdoor grill? 

Yeah for National Barbecue Month!!  Every month is celebrated barbecuing here!  Actually, my hubby is the grill king so I love that about it.  And, I love the ease of grilling - not much to clean up. I make a salad, or a side or two, and that's that.    The last thing hubby made was this past Sunday evening and it was burgers for our dogs.  Yes, that's right.  We have the most spoiled dogs around!  Hubby buys choice hamburger for them - and grills just for them sometimes!  When I get on the action, it's usually a chicken kabob.

3.  What is one thing on your "never again" list? 

Just one thing??   The first thing that popped into my mind is to ride a roller coaster.  No thanks.  I don't like being scared to death.  And lately I have heard of a few malfunctions with amusement park rides so I really do not EVER intend to ride on them again.    Seriously...  why???    Why do people like to be frightened??  I just don't get it.

4.  What's something that annoys you about people your own age? Something you love about your generation?

Well,  I may tick off a few people saying this, but I don't like hearing about aging and about being too old to do something.  (And I know I have my own moments when I get tired and want to chill. So, yes, I am perhaps a bit two-faced about it.)  But, I have discovered that I actually enjoy hanging out with the younger generation more than my own at times - because they are more fun!   They keep me "tuned in" and excited about life.  I don't want to be around complainers and those who can't get interested in life around them. what do I like about my generation?   (Am I hearing "The Who" singing in my head?)   
I like that my generation has more choices about living.   I like that my peers and I have raised our families and have more freedom - to do what we want, to use our days to our liking.   Nobody holds us back really.   

5.  Lilac, iris, hyacinth, pansy....   your favorite purple flower?

The iris is beautiful - and certainly makes me think of my hubby's mother (Nannie) who loved them so much.   Hyacinth are a "first flower of Spring" so I love seeing them pop out of the ground.    It means winter is gone.     Pansies are long lasting.  Here in the south we even have "winter pansies" that are hardy enough to plant in the fall and make it through the cold weather.    And, lilacs are so fragrant!       I can't pick one favorite!  I love them all!

6.  What's a song that always calms you down? I have to pick just one?   I think not!     Calming songs....  include some hymns, like "Beautiful Savior" and some classical pieces like "Canon in D" by Pachabel.  But I also love "Watch the Wind Blow" and "Let It Go"  sing by Tim McGraw - for the melody and the lyrics.

7.  What's the last thing you donated? 

The last thing would be items I bought to put into the baby layette baskets I put together each week for our local hospital - for new moms that need support.   I get donations from others in my church, but I also buy bags, baby shampoo, wipes, etc to put in.  I'm forever running to the Dollar Tree to pick up items to fill the baskets with - and then I decorate the basket, and put in a note to the new mom.  

Want to help?  I'm always taking donations!    Anything in newborn sizes, and anything to give a new mom a lift and a helping hand her first days at home with her new baby.

8.  My random thought. 

All good things come to an end.  Anybody else out there been an "American Idol" fan like myself all these years?   I will miss it - but I know it has lost viewership, and I think we all have gotten saturated with so many of these talent shows on TV.  When Idol first came on it was new, fresh, exciting!  Stars were made!   I have loved all the various judges, for one reason or another.  And I have loved seeing singers get discovered.   I will miss the show.   But I get that it has run it's course.

Have a great week everyone!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

May - it's about mothers, and spring, and things we appreciate!

Hello!  I have missed the last two Hodgepodge weeks due to a little thing called my daughter's wedding.   I wrote a post about the wedding right before this one, so if you'd like to read it, you can scan down.  But, in short, the wedding day was absolutely lovely, and it didn't rain (even though the forecast called for a 100% chance!), and the bride & groom were beautiful...  and I danced and danced!!   I think a good time was had by all!

Now, back to our regular programming!?!

Here are the Hodgepodge questions and my answers.  You will note that mothers play a part in the questions, since Sunday is our annual celebration "day" for them.  But, really, isn't EVERY day Mother's Day??   I think so!  ( :

1.  What's a phrase your mother often said to you?  If you're a parent, is this something you now say to your own children? 

OK.  So sometimes I feel sad that I just don't remember details from my childhood.  I loved my mother very much - she was very sweet, and I always felt she was there for me.  But, I can not think of a particular phrase she would say to me... to help me through rough times especially, or to just keep everything in childhood in perspective.   Perhaps my sister can remember better.   If she's reading this, please respond.

As for what I told my children as they grew up...   "life is not fair."   I didn't want them to think everything was to be for their benefit, and that sometimes we learn more from disappointments and in losing.   I also tried to put a big emphasis on the value of knowing God, hopefully without being preachy... but, more by example.  

2.  What is a scent you associate with your mother or your childhood home? 

Immediately I think of the scent of the Dove soap in my grandma Fogt's bathroom!  It was very fragrant - and we used Dial at home.  Her soap made an impression on my young nose!  

As for my one childhood home:  this is a rotten smell:  When we lived in Bucyrus, Ohio we lived just a few blocks from the Swan Rubber Company and on summer days & evenings the smell of burned rubber would permeate through our open windows in our house.   It was not pleasant.

3.  What's an activity you remember always doing with your mother? 

Again, I wish I remembered more details.   I do know though that my mother was home every day when I got home from school.  I was one of those kids who must have really appreciated it... and liked knowing she was there.  She didn't work away from home until I was in high school (and I was the youngest of three) so she was there... and I found comfort in that.  

4.  Flared jeans, maxi dresses, and jumpsuits are 70's fashion trends back this Spring.  Are you on board?  Which trend would you most be inclined to try?  For the men - flared corduroys, wide collared shirts, and floral prints...  what say you? 

No, no, and no.   The 70's fashions were not great then, so why bring them back?!?    I wore flared jeans but I never wore maxi dresses.  I do remember having a maxi winter coat though... and that made sense in the winter cold in Ohio.   I had a jumpsuit that I liked because I think (in my mind) I looked skinny in it!  ha!  But... what a pain to go to the bathroom in it!   The whole thing had to be unzipped and come off, and I remember once being in a public bathroom and trying to keep it from touching the floor - or anything else!?!    ugh

As for the mens' styles.... also, no, no, no!!

5.  May 6th is Teachers Appreciation Day and also Nurses Appreciation Day.   Is there a nurse or teacher you have especially appreciated along the way?  Tell us why? 

From my "school days" I remember the fun teachers, or the teachers of subjects I especially liked.  I can name a few... Mrs. Hayes (4th grade -so sweet),  Mr. Rohrbough (HS band director),  Mr. Mental (football coach who taught history - we all thought he was cute), and Mr. Fisher (biology - a subject I didn't like but I was "lab partners" with my best friend Paula and we giggled a lot!!)  I also liked my French teacher... can't think of her name. Soft spoken and kind.  I loved my Art History professor in college, Dr. Bauer.  I recently saw the byline on an article in the newspaper of a professor I had at night at Towson University.  He worked for the Baltimore Sun then, and taught on the side. He went on to write for one of the big news organizations, AP/UPI.  I emailed him 2 years ago and told him I remembered him and that I enjoyed his class.  He wrote back saying he was very touched to get my letter and I made his day!  

Another teacher I love?  My daughter, the bride, who is in her first year of teaching - and she's in an urban school teaching 9th and 10th graders English Literature!  God bless her!  She also coaches the girls hip-hop dance group, and is starting a debate team.   Yeah for her! 

I can't name particular nurses BUT almost all of them are amazing people, who put up with us in our worst moments, and give TLC and a healing hand.    I admire what they do!

6.  If I came by your house, what would I find on your refrigerator door? 

I assume Joyce, our Hodgepodge leader, means on the outside of the fridge.  I have a calendar - yes, I still prefer to keep one there and write on it vs. using an electronic one.  I have magnets from a few places I have been. I still have my daughter's "Save the Date" card up - and I have my niece's "Save the Date" too for her October wedding.  I  also have an autographed picture of Blake Shelton on the fridge.  Why?   Long story...  but my daughter & her new hubby have Blake's song "Honeybee" as "their" song.  It was popular when they first started dating.   I wrote to both Blake Shelton's record company and his management company back in December, telling them it was my daughter and fiance's "song" and they would dance their first dance to it at the wedding reception.  I asked for a letter of congratulations for the happy couple, which I wanted to frame and present them.  I included a self-addressed, stamped envelope.   Well...   I got both back.  And, both had the same photo of Blake, and both were signed "To Marla" (me!).  No congratulatory letter.   Dang!  Neither read my letter very closely.  Oh well.  So, now the picture of Blake hangs on my fridge! 

7.  Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana made her royal entrance on Saturday, May 2nd.  On a scale of 1 -10, how much attention did you give to all the news coverage?  1 = Who's Charlotte?  10 = sat glued to the telly, cuppa in hand. 

I give myself a 3.  I knew Kate was pregnant and I knew reporters and cameramen were posted outside the hospital for days.  But, I was not enthralled with all the details.   I will say I like the name given the baby...and Kate sure looked good when she stepped out for the first picture - the very SAME day she delivered!   They are a cute family - and I hope they stay away from all the craziness that comes from being a "royal on display."  

8.  My random thought. 

Oh May!  How I love you!  The weather is beautiful here.  It's sunny and breezy.  The flowers are blooming and the trees and grass are green again!   The feel of summer is starting... with the excitement of all the fun times ahead during the warm weather months!   I love this time of year! 

Now, don't let me eat my words - there's the first "system" somewhere out in the ocean again.  The hurricane predictors have said it will be a quiet year, which really means, it may not!!  They seem to always get it wrong.  

But, for today...   fiddle dee dee!!!  I'm going to go out and enjoy this glorious day! 
Hope you do too.