Tuesday, August 25, 2015

With summer drawing to a close, the word of the week is END.

It's Tuesday already.  Time for the Hodgepodge questions and my answers.   It's all about endings...good, bad, or ugly.   Here we go!

1. It's hard to believe, but next week's Hodgepodge will find us in the month of September.  What's one thing you want, need, or hope to do still before summer officially ends

My hubby and I have yet to take the boat down to the barrier islands off of McClellanville to enjoy the beauty there.  We need to go on a day when we have plenty of time and the weather forecast is good.  We don't want any pop up storms!  It's a great ride and a great place to find beautiful conch shells.

2.   When were you last at 'your wit's end'?

Thankfully, I can't think of a time - at least in my recent memory!  (As we age we forget, especially the bad stuff. lol)   I try to live my life in a way to stay out of those scenerios.   Plus, I think I get to a point in my brain to just stop thinking about issues or problems beyond my control and turn them over to God. 

3.  Describe a time when you were figuratively thrown into the deep end?

Ditto on my answer from #2.   I try to live my life so I'm not thrown into situations that are beyond my control or too challenging to handle.  I have learned to say "no" and therefore I live a happy life and stay away from deep ends and deep doo-doo!!

4.  Does the end always, ever, or never justify the means.  Explain.

Ok....  well, this is a toughie!  I think my opinion is that there is rarely ever a time when the end justifies the means.  I am a believer of treating each other as you would like to be treated.  I'm a believer in following rules and laws.  I believe in peaceful co-existence.     Saying that, I know that there are times when there is a need for what's best for humanity to do something painful and sad.   I would not personally want to be the one to make that decision or to do it.

SO, I can't see 'never'...  and I certainly disagree with 'always.'   

5.  What makes your hair stand on end?

Hair goo!   I think Joyce is really asking what makes me scared... or frightened.   Is that what the expression means?     If so, lots of things make my hair stand on end!   Amusement rides,  road rage,  close-minded people, stupid political games,  animal abuse,  child abuse!,  lack of respect (see my post before this one),  musical instruments out of tune,  gun "accidents",  and snakes to name a few.

6.  Joyce read an article on the website Eat This! Health, that listed 11 foods we can eat to help end bad moods.  Basically it's to feed your brain so you are less anxious, grouchy, and lethargic.  The foods are - mussels, swiss chard, blue potatoes,  grass fed beef, dark chocolate, greek yogurt, asparagus, honey, cherry tomatoes, eggs, and coconut.  

Which of these do you think would help end your bad mood?  Which do you fear, if forced to eat, would put you in a bad mood? 

First, I have to ask...blue potatoes?   Never heard of them.    Second, I see why my hubby is usually in such a good mood because he eats a lot of the food listed above!     For me, eggs have always made me feel better.  If I'm sick I scramble up some eggs.  If I feel lethargic - it gives me energy.  Perhaps a bit "hungover" (which rarely happens - really!), then an egg McMuffin does the trick!

I am allergic to foods that come out of the sea, so mussels would definitely put me in a bad mood.  And to tell you the truth, I can't really even look at them!  They are a weird food!

7.  What project around your home, office, or life in general feels like there is 'no end' in sight? 

Gardening and yard work - but I enjoy it....so I'm glad it is something to do all the time.   

In general, I do not like going grocery shopping.... and there is definitely no end in sight!  It's a boring, routine part of life.   I am not a "foodie" so I do not like to explore new recipes, or try new food items, etc.   I go into the supermarket and pick up the same stuff every time.   Boring.

8.  My random thought. 

If you have the time,  take a look at my blog post before this one.  I wrote it last night after talking on the phone with my daughter who just started her second year of teaching.  I know a few of you Hodgepodgers are experienced teachers... and perhaps you can give me some advice to pass on.  I know the state of education in this country is a big subject to tackle so don't go there... but I would love to pass on to my daughter some glimmers of hope, and some tricks of the trade.   Got any?

Have a great day and week!!! 


Monday, August 24, 2015

Is it this way in every high school?

So, I know I am not writing something new here... 

but when you hear your daughter on her first day back to teaching a new year sound so upset on the phone, and so unsure of her profession, it just makes me very sad.  I'm sad for her - but I'm sad for what so many of the students in high school do - and don't know.

What do they do?   They talk.... and talk and talk.  When they are supposed to listen they talk - in the classroom. All the time.   They act uninterested in learning -  in anything.  They don't seem to care.   Even on the first day.  

What they don't do?  They don't give respect to their teacher.  They don't realize the importance of learning and in doing well in school.   They don't learn at home about being a good person.   

What has happened in our schools?  I mean, I know there have always been "problem kids" but I personally don't remember ever being in a classroom where the majority of the students were disruptive (and yes, it's been decades since I have been there.)   It seems so many of them today are diagnosed with medical issues now.  With anxiety, with depression.  HDLD and other behavioral problems.  Students get up and walk around during class.  And they talk non-stop.   But, oh, they have issues....   ???    Students are not fearful of what can happen with bad behavior, and they are not taught good manners at home. 

Aretha sang R-E-S-P-E-C-T !     I think we need to teach it again!  

But, according to my daughter by the time she gets these kids in her class in 9th grade it's too late.    Somewhere, before they walk into her classroom they have been let down, or moved on when they shouldn't have been, or ignored (they can't read), or never taught responsibility.    9th grade!!

Like I said the sad state of education in America is nothing new.  My daughter teaches in a public school in an urban area, a mixed area,  so she has different kinds of students - different from those in a wealthy suburban community, or a rural town.   Although I wonder...  is it really different anymore?  Are most students regardless of where they live being raised without learning respect, and manners, and self-control?  

I hurt for my daughter.   She loves "teaching" English Lit to students who actually do read, and who do their assignments, and she enjoys debates and healthy discussions.   (Her AP class in the Spring is her "reward" for making it through the other classes - the only students who do what they are supposed to do.)  My daughter is not a screamer, and she's not a mean-spirited person. She can not put up with day in and day out disruption and lack of respect from students. 

And, what about administrations?  Should the staff not be supporting teachers better - with advice, with empathy??   With a shoulder to lean on?   Something??

I know my daughter is just getting into her new year - but she already dreads the weeks and months to come, just trying to have some semblence of a real learning environment.   Like I said before, it makes me very sad...   I'm not sure if she will stick with teaching for the long run.   And, that's sad because I know she works hard, and is a great role model, a wonderful teacher, and caring person in the classroom. 

I feel for my daughter tonight.   I feel for all high school teachers.  It's a tough job!   They need to be supported!

Friday, August 21, 2015


Changes.   In life we all have times of change.  Sometimes we look forward to them, but often a change can come along and we just have to ride the wave so we don't drown when it happens.

Right now it seems that a few people I know and care about are experiencing some change in their lives.  One is experiencing a move and meeting new people, one is experiencing a family sickness, another is leaving the church, and a dear friend is sending her child off to college.

As David Bowie's song "Changes" says - "turn and face the strange."   Meet the new way head on.  Look forward and accept the change.

It's not always easy.   In fact sometimes it's hard work.  It takes a stiff upper lip to keep moving forward.   I have certainly moved a few times (more than a few!) in my life.  I know how scary it can be (but also exciting).  I have had to worry about a sick family member before too.   I have never left a church congregation unless it was for a move, so I don't know how I would handle that change.  But, I have had to send my daughters off to college and the "big world" and at the same time learned to find my way as an "empty nester."

I know ALL the changes are major... and I feel for my friends going through them right now.

So this post is a "hug" to them all... and it's my little 'ole way to give some encouragement. This change in their life will be temporary - and soon the new way will become ordinary.

I was in my church library yesterday and came upon a small book called "One Minute Prayers for Women" and brought it home to read.  It caught my eye because...one minute?  Yes, I can handle that!  Also, it is divided up into situations... like Letting Go, Direction, Purpose, Abundance, and more.

This page comes from The Past section...

So, to my "changing" friends....   I leave you with this from Isaiah:

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?    

The Prayer:

Free me from the past, Lord.  I spend too much time there.  Good times that have come and gone replay in my mind so often that I miss the wonder of today's joy.  Cause me to be present, Lord.  Draw my attention to the life in front of me.  My past has nothing to offer You or myself.  But today... now... has so much to offer.
Give me a view of new wonders You are doing. I imagine they are brilliant happenings.  Do not let my mind slip to the past, except to count the times you have blessed me. Then I must move on.  My past serves my future... it is a foundation for all days that follow.  Now I must invest my time, my dreams, my prayers on the future You have carved out for me.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Back to School

Welcome Hodgepodgers!  Today's questions start off with one I submitted to our leader Joyce awhile back.  With it being 'back to school' time for many, I think this question fits right in.  What do you think?

1.  At what age did you feel like a 'grown up'?  What keeps you young now? 

For me, I think graduating from college and ending my education and college life was a time to step it  up and be a grown up.  I had a job and I moved into an apartment with a girlfriend.  I was responsible for my half of the rent, utilities, etc.  I also had to pay for my car, and for my food, and everything else I wanted.  It was also the time when I got to make the decisions totally about my life.  I could certainly ask for advice, but I knew I had total freedom on what I wanted in and out of life.

What keeps me young?  I think it's a state of mind.  I love being around young people.  I love to stay 'current' on everything going on now, but don't want to be goofy about it (no, you won't see me in a miniskirt trying to LOOK 25!)  Feeling good, and staying in tune with what is happening keeps me young.   Oh - and did I mention hair dye??

2.  When did you last buy a vehicle? Was this by design or because you had no other option?  Was the car/truck purchased for your own personal use or was it bought for someone else to drive?  Om a scale of 1 -10 (with 10 being delightful and 1 bring 'pass the Execdrin') how would you rate the experience? 

Well, I have a hubby with a car fetish.  The man loves cars, and loves the process of looking for a car, buying it, driving it for a bit - then repeating the process.  Over and over.  I do not understand his enjoyment of it, but I'm not a man, and I'm not him.  Marriage is accepting each other's hobbies and being happy for what makes them happy.  Right?

So, for me....   I personally got a new car two and a half years ago.  I have been an SUV driver for a long, long time. I love many things about an SUV:  the storage space, sitting up a bit high in traffic, room for passengers, etc.    I loved my Toyota Highlander that I got back when I was living in NJ.  It was perfect for the hilly and snowy terrain.  I made many trips back and forth with it from NJ to SC when we were moving south.   It served me well.   When it came time to get a new SUV Toyota had changed the body of the Highlander and made it bigger and heavier.  I was disappointed - so I looked around and ended up with a Honda CRV.  Why?   Although it's lower to the ground than a Highlander, it has many of the same features.  And, this time, I wanted to buy from a dealership that was not too far to travel to for when the car needed maintenance or other work done on it.   I also considered size.  It's easy to park... and it isn't huge but still has plenty of inside space.    Wow. I feel like I should be a car salesperson!   My experience was an 8... because I knew what I wanted.  We traded in the Highlander.  It went smoothly.

3.   Corn bread, corn chips, corn pudding, corn on the cob, corn flakes, corn chowder - your favorite of the corn-y foods listed? What needs to be served along side your selection?  

I love quite a few of the corn-y foods on this list!  I think my favorite is corn on the cob because it is so seasonal and fun to eat!  What to eat with it?  Some bar-b-que!  Of course!  I also love warm corn pudding - and if you are ever in Murrells Inlet, SC go to Bovine's Restaurant for the best warm corn pudding! Its served as a side on most plates.

4.  What's something in your life that regularly requires you to put your thinking cap on? 

Why it's the Hodgepodge!!  Sometimes I have to reflect, sometimes I have to consider options, sometimes I think about what makes me tick. That's why I like participating!

5.  Share a favorite movie set in a school or classroom, or whose theme relates to school days in some way. 

GREASE!!   It's the word!    It's the best!  I love musicals and I love 'feel good' movies.    This one has a wonderful story, and is funny, has great songs, and amazing dancing!  I love everything that takes place at Rydell High!

6.   Reading, writing, 'rithmatic' are commonly referred to as the THREE R's.  What are the three R's in your life right now? 

Riva - life   (Our cabin on the Black River)
Religion     (my faith)
Reading      (I am in a Book Club and I am reading all the time.)

7.  What's something you've learned or tried recently that you can say was as 'easy as ABC'?

Recently?   I wonder what that means in length of time.  I can't think of anything in the past 12 months that I have started, certainly something that came easy to me.    I have some skills that I do "okay"...like I'm a bit crafty.  I am a bit musical. I can drive anywhere without fear.     It's all I can think of right now.

8. My random thought. 

To continue the 'back to school' theme, my random thought has to do with the passage of time.  Another summer over for so many.  Schools here in SC start this Thursday.  Teachers reported back on Monday.   It always makes me a bit sad to see summer end.     I'm wondering if you are excited about fall and all that starts up again.  Do you have a full schedule in September?  

Lastly, be kind to teachers!  They have a tough job, and they certainly don't get the credit they deserve.     (Yes, my daughter is a teacher so I hear how crazy/amazing/scary/enlightening each day is with America's youth.)  They deserve our respect!!


Monday, August 17, 2015

Through thick and thin...

This post is a bit of re-cap of my last week - an emotional one around these parts.  By the way.... Have you ever noticed how physically tired you can get when you become emotionally drained?   Anyway...

Over the past few days I attended a funeral of a dear woman from my church, and I also spent time and then said goodbye to some good friends (and our loved pastor) as they set out on a new journey.   Yes, it was draining!   We celebrated! We laughed, drank, ate, and cried. 

Everything had more meaning the last few days.  Everything was heart-felt.  Nothing was taken for granted. 

Sometimes we need these wake up calls to realize how special people are - and how wonderful relationships become.   This past week was a time that made the wake up bell go off!  

Our church has been going through some rough patches recently.  Some things have been said, and emailed, that have been hurtful - and sad.  (It has nothing to do with pastor and family leaving.) So, now when I reflect on the last week I realize how in times of struggle and sadness the bonds can be stronger, and more meaningful.

Through thick and thin!

We all want the roses all the time but perhaps a prick of a thorn makes you realize just how beautiful the flower is!

I don't know what the coming weeks will bring.  I suppose I need a bit of a reprieve from the emotions, and I need time to be "still" again.    But, looking back on the past few days I have been uplifted even in my sadness.  I have felt love, and I have experienced a deepness in people by just looking into their eyes.   Sometimes words are not needed.

Ok...  yet I blog! lol     

See you tomorrow for the Hodgepodge.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

What gets you moving??

After a week off our Hodgepodge leader Joyce is back at it!  She moved last week and got her computer and internet set up in time for this week's questions.  I think you can tell where her mind has been.  Read on!!

1.  When was the last time you re-located?  Did you move yourself or leave it to the professionals?  Are you happy staying put or is there a move in your future?  Best thing about moving to a new city or town? Least favorite and/or hardest thing about moving? 

I moved rather often as a kid and as an adult until the last move which was over 8 years ago.  Counting up houses/apartments I lived in (and including one college dorm)  I am at 16 places of residence! I do NOT plan on moving again for a long time!  I love where I am!

Growing up, the moves with my family were easy for me.  And then when I got married, we moved for my hubby's job opportunities.  We had small children and it was easy to pick up and go with them.   Once our girls got into school I didn't want to move as often so we did end up staying in NJ long enough for them to go from elementary through high school in the same school system.

Now, hubby and I have settled into a part of the world we really enjoy.  I don't plan on moving out of this house unless something unforeseen happens.

The best thing about moving?  Meeting new people!  I like that I have made friends in all the places we have lived and I try to stay connected to many of them.  Thank goodness for Facebook!

The most challenging part about moving?  Definitely it's setting up new doctors and finding the "best" place to go for a hair cut, or dry cleaning, etc.    Also, I think it takes almost 2 years to feel like it's "your" community.   Once you can start answering questions for other newbies, then you know it's where you live!

Oh - and I have moved with professionals (when it was a business move) and I have moved with a U-Haul.  If at all possible, the best way is to leave it to the professionals!  Less stressful, less back-breaking, less tiring!

2.  When were you last 'moved to tears.'  Explain. 

Oy.  Well, I think I mentioned this before, but our good friends (who is the pastor of our church and his family) are getting ready to move.  In fact, this coming Sunday is his last here.  So, everything recently has been emotional for me.    Today will be the last Bible Study I will attend that he will lead - and I have been going for 7 years each week!

Moved to tears?  This past Sunday the pastor, his wife, and 2 others sang the benediction.  It was beautiful.  The whole congregation was moved.      This coming Sunday will be a toughie.   Beautiful, sad, meaningful, emotional.

3.  Do you have rules about eating in the car.... any forbidden foods?  What's the last thing you consumed in your car?  Your go-to car snack when traveling long distance? 

I don't have any strict rules about eating in my car.   If you can manage it, you can eat it!

The last thing I ate in my car was just yesterday. I drove up to the airport to pick up my cousin & her manfriend.  I had a late breakfast so I wasn't ready for lunch, but I knew I'd be gone for awhile.  I planned to stop and run some errands too. So, I ate a nut bar in the car.

My go-to food for long trips....   I definitely have some peanut M & M's because it's a treat for me (I don't eat them any other time) and I can "pop" them easily while driving.  The chocolate in them is a caffeine burst.   I also drink coffee and regular caffeinated Coca-cola too.  Those are things to help me keep awake and alert!  I am usually careful about what I eat in life, but I allow myself treats when driving. I also like bags of Chex Mix because munching also seems to help me stay awake.

4. Share a favorite song relating to cars and/or driving.

I'll go with Keith Urban's "Days Go By."

The chorus is...

And days go by
I can feel 'em flying...
like a hand out the window in the wind.

The cars go by
yeah, it's all we've been given
so you better start living right now...
cause days go by!

5.  What's your most frequently visited drive thru...   Starbucks?  the bank?  the pharmacy?  Some other window?

Well, we just got a Dunkin' Donuts open up here about a month ago and I am a DD girl!  I much prefer it over Starbuck's.  So, since opening I have gone through the DD drive thru at least twice a weekAnd, it's been hot out!  I figure I will hit it even more often in the cooler weather months! Yeah for Dunkin Donuts!

6.  "He who hesitates is lost" ....  would you agree?  When it comes to making decisions do you generally act quickly or do you more often than not fall into the 'lost' category? 

Interesting.   Most things in life require some thought, and even though I usually have a 'gut feeling' right away I like to ponder it a day or two.  (Not my hubby! He's a jump in and grab it kind-of-guy).  I guess I feel if it's worth it, it will still be a week later - or a month later.  I don't consider waiting as "losing out".   Perhaps sometimes waiting means it will be gone.  But, then it's no big deal.

7.  When was the last time you got lost?   Was it stressful or an unexpected adventure? 

First question:  I can't remember when I was last lost.  Why?  I make sure I know where I am going!   Before GPS in my car I made sure I had pretty good directions written down, or a map with me.  A GPS is a beautiful thing!   I love having one in my car - and on my Iphone!

Second question:   I hate the feeling of being lost, so yes, it's always stressful to me.  I try very hard not to let it happen!

8.  My random thought for this week.

I am debating stopping two things here at home:  a newspaper delivery and our local land-line phone. 
Both are becoming obsolete.  Our local newspaper basically repeats everything I have already seen on line or on TV, and my land line is almost always tele-marketers.  I never answer it anymore.  Family and friends know to call me on my cellphone.

I'm wondering if any of you have already given them up.  Do you miss having a newspaper or "house" phone?   

Your thoughts?     Thanks!     Have a great week!


Monday, August 3, 2015

Taking a few minutes to reflect....

A little Monday morning quarterbacking...

*  What a beautiful weekend we had!  Even though the forecast called for showers and thundershowers we didn't have any rain that was disruptive to the weekend fun.  Daughter #2 had a great group of friends here for the weekend and I was happy they got to enjoy everything at the riva.

*  It's August already.  Why does time move so quickly in the summer - but so slowly in January and February? 

* Schools start back too early.  It used to be standard for schools to go September to June.  Now, every place is different, and many states start students (and teachers) back mid-August.   Another reason summer seems to fly by?    I think so!  

* I do love the start of football season and September & October are lovely months here in the lowcountry.   Thank goodness!   I enjoy SEC and NFL and the weekends are filled with football talk, predictions, viewing, etc.   Speaking of...    who you rooting for?

* I have sadness happening more than usual right now.  Saying goodbye...    it's never easy.  Be it good friends/important people in my life, or a favorite TV show,  or...  summer...        all weigh on me now.

* How will I make it through this long political season without Jon Stewart?  And, who will Stephen Colbert be when he comes back on the air next month?

*  I promised NOT to belittle anyone running for president on Facebook.   Does that include here - on my blog??  Can I keep positive through all of what will be happening?   Can I stop myself?     It's going to be hard...    because they make themselves so easy to ridicule.     It's my challenge.

* The pug life.  It's a subculture all it's own. 

*  Blogging.  It's also a subculture all it's own.   I am impressed by those out there who write and "self-publish" because they love to, and because it's an avenue to speak. Ok...  that is why I do it.
 Nobody can stop me.  It's your choice whether to read it or not.   (Anybody out there still with me??)

*  Friends come in all ages, all places, all backgrounds.   One of the best things of aging is losing the clique mentality and accepting all kinds of people - learning from all kinds of people.

* One of the worse things of aging is....        the mirror.      But, then I guess it's the best thing too because you realize it's not all about the outside.

* I do not miss a hectic life.

*  Instead of stopping to smell the roses, I get to live near the roses and enjoy them every day!

*  So, hello Monday!  Bring it on!!