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?