Tuesday, September 27, 2016

DESSERT or DESERT. Which do you prefer?

I am looking at the Hodgepodge questions rather late for me today.  Why? Well yesterday was finally our move day and we are now in our new and smaller home.  Everything went well and we are somewhat unpacked.  It's been a slow process in total - and we aren't done yet.  But, since we don't have a contract on the home we are selling, we can take our time getting all the stuff out of it.  There are still lots of little things in the closets and in the garage. 
So, a nice break from unpacking is this week's Hodgepodge.
1. Have you ever been to and/or lived near the desert? What did you think? Travel and Leisure lists the 'coolest' American desert towns as-

Palm Springs CA, Virgina City NE, Bend OR, Winslow AZ, Marfa TX, Grand Junction CO, Silver City NM, Moab UT, Taos NM, Yakima WA, Borrego Springs CA, Terlingua TX, and St. George UT, and Tubac AZ

Have you been to any of these? Would you like to visit a desert town? Which on the list would you most like to see?
I have never lived in a desert city per say, but I did live in Redding, California, which is really hot and dry.  It's a large town at the northern end of a valley.  Although the mountains are not far away, the valley stays very hot most of the year.  Highs in the summer hit 107 or so.  The landscape was very desert-y looking.  I have always said that describing the California hills as 'golden' isn't quite right. They are really just very dry, a light brown - and a fire hazard.

I have not visited any of the places listed in the 'coolest' desert towns.   I'm not  desert person.  I prefer more greenery - lawns, shrubs, trees.  I love living near the beach.
2. What's a plan or project you've deserted in the past year? 
 I'm having a tough time coming up with an answer for this one.  I suppose each year I wish I would be better at correspondence.  I also wish I spent more time on music - practicing.  Especially the piano and flute. 
3. Desert-dessert? Share two or three words you find yourself having to think twice about when it comes to spelling.  
Well, just above I questioned myself about how to spell the word correspondence.   Spell-check helped me out.  It does come in handy!!  ha    I have trouble with niece... the whole 'i before e' rule confuses me sometimes because there seem to be many words that don't fit the rule. 

4. High and dry, like watching paint dry, dry run, dry as dust, not a dry eye in the house...which phrase can you relate to currently? Explain. 
I can't say any of the expressions relate to my life right now.  
5. How often do you frequent the dry cleaners? Starch or no starch?  
My hubby still likes some work shirts laundered professionally, and we both occasionally have some dry cleaning. I go to the cleaners about once every two weeks.  

Hubby likes light starch on dress shirts for work.
6. What's a food or beverage you enjoy that's named for a place? 
Woodbridge Chardonnay!  There is probably some place named Woodbridge, right?  If not, there should be!!    I think there is a Woodbridge in New Jersey although I am pretty sure that is not where the wine is produced.  lol  
7. Do you need solitude? 
Absolutely!!!  I love my solitude.  I need it every day.  
8.  Insert your own random thought here.
Question: who would like to recommend a good book to read now?   I'd love to hear your suggestions!  Tell me why you liked the book so much! 
Have a wonderful week ahead!

Friday, September 23, 2016

My two cents.

I know many will disagree with me when I say this, but I think America is reaping what it  has sown in terms of the gun violence happening.  There is no doubt in my mind that the increase in shootings - cops shooting citizens, citizens shooting citizens, accidental shootings - is because we have allowed loose gun regulations and have let carrying a gun become a common occurrence.

Cops shooting citizens -  I can not even imagine what it is like for policemen and women who now fear that every single traffic stop or domestic disturbance call they go on could turn into someone shooting at them.  The freedom of gun use by citizens has created a fear for police, and it has cause citizens to think they can take the law into their own hands.  We must have police, and we need to give them the right to protect us.  We can't have an equal playing field.   But, now we do. 

Citizens shooting citizens -  It doesn't take a math expert to figure out that the more guns that are out there on the streets, the more they will be used.  And, the fact that ordinary citizens feel the NEED to carry a gun with them all the time means they also in a fearful society.  They think "I will shoot you before you shoot me!"    Citizens who carry all the time carry their guns into places that should never have them...  bars, churches, schools.   Even if by accident.   People forget...  people act dumb...people want to be superior...people are fallible.   People get hot-headed.  People get road rage.   Putting a gun into these situations is just plain crazy - and deadly.

Accidents -  The more guns, the more likely there will be an accident with one.  Again, statistically, it just happens.  Well meaning gun owners leave them in cars, or heaven help me - where a child can pick it up.  They clean them without proper concern.  They leave bullets in them. They do not lock them up.  Accidents  happen.  And a gun accident can be deadly.

I see every single day on our 24-7 news sources all of the above types of gun shootings.   My heart breaks for families of cops, for victims of rage, and for the innocent children.

I hear people say "it's too late - guns are everywhere" and they say "the bad guys will always have guns and we need to protect ourselves."    I'm sorry.  But, I find that both statements are said as a way of giving up, and of thinking nothing can be done to better our country when it comes to gun deaths.
I WILL NOT GIVE UP!   And, really, if we work to slowly improve this "wild west" world we have created, isn't that alone worth it?  Saving one or two from a gun death?  Isn't even that worth it?

There are things we can do NOW to better our country, and to feel safer - without needing to rely on guns. We can require gun makers to make "smart guns" that can only be used by it's owner with a fingerprint - just like iphones do today. (the technology is here now - so why isn't it happening?)   We can restrict places to carry them, and we can raise fines and punishment.  We can push for stronger gun sale requirements (by both buyer and seller). We can vote for those who support a safer America and want to see gun restrictions.  Guns are not going away.  Nobody thinks that.  But, there is SO much that can be done to turn the tide the other way, and to change the fear so many feel.  Guns are not the answer to fear.  In fact they make it worse.

For me - I have always thought that owning a gun is such a big responsibility!   Think about it.  It could be misused or stolen from me...or I could get nervous and shoot out of being scared.   I never ever want to put myself in that situation!!  EVER!

When I see on TV the videos of horrible confrontations when police stop a vehicle and the driver has a gun, I just know it's not going to end well.  How can it?   Both the police and the citizen are afraid. Both have lost trust.  Guns escalate the situation.

So, this is where America is now.  I don't know how we turn the minds of those who fear, or want superiority, or do not trust.  But, making guns harder to get, and making people more responsible with them is achievable.  Please don't think it isn't.  

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The times, they are a changin!

Welcome to this week's Hodgepodge.  Another list. My answers.  
Something's don't change!
1. Thursday (September 22) is the first official day of autumn in this part of the world...how will you welcome the season? I know some of you have been celebrating way too early, but it's official now so permission granted. House Beautiful recently listed ten ways to make your home smell like fall (you can read the list here) What's a scent you love this time of year and how will you add it to your home? 
How will I celebrate and welcome the new season?  I won't do much really.  I have some autumn decorations but I just carried the box over to the new home.  I may put out a pumpkin on the front porch over there.  It's hard to do anything while we are transitioning from one house to another. 
When the weather gets cooler I will change over my wardrobe and put away my summer-y colors, and pull out my jeans and sweaters.
 I think pumpkin is overly used now. But, I like the smell of a warm loaf of pumpkin bread in the oven, or some apple cider steaming on the stovetop. But, in reality, all I do is change my plug-in air freshener from lavender to spice! lol

2. Apple pie or pumpkin pie? Apple cake or pumpkin bread? Warm apple cider or a pumpkin spice latte?
As I answered above pumpkin bread is a winner!  I love both apple pie and pumpkin pie, but I don't really eat them except at Thanksgiving.   Warm apple cider beats out the spice latte.  
3. Do you suffer from what is sometimes referred to as an afternoon slump? What helps ward it off before it hits and/or tell us what helps you shake it off once it's here?
Oh yes I do! If I sit down in the afternoon to read a book I doze off. I often make a cup of real, caffeinated coffee to sip while reading to help me stay awake.  My afternoon nap has nothing to do with the quality of the book.  It just happens!  
So, what is my best way to ward off the afternoon slump?   Just don't sit down!   
4. Ladies-how have your friendships with women inspired you or made you a better person? For the men here today- how have your friendships with men inspired you or made you a better person?

Friendships with other women is vital for my life.  I love knowing I can hang out with a girlfriend, and talk about 'girly things.'   I think women friendships are really important during the college years and those friendships bonded then tend to last a lifetime!  Friendships with other women when raising your children is also wonderful - sharing stories, laughs, helping to keep sane! ha!  

Am I inspired by my friends?  Yes!  They have many of the same ups and downs that I experience, so they understand, and they know how to say the right thing at just the right time to me.  They show me that 'girl power' is strong, fun, and loving!

5. Are you a people pleaser? If you said yes, do you think that's a good or bad thing? If you said no, do you wish you were more of a people pleaser? 
In general, yes, I am a people pleaser.   And, yes, I think it's a good thing.   I never like being in a situation where disagreements get out of hand and regretful words are spoken.  I like to keep everyone calm and happy... so I do what I can, or maybe say something to ease the thick air.  
Saying that, I do not go as far as to do something or say something that would go against my moral and ethical compass! I also won't be walked on.
6. The seasons are a-changin'...share a favorite song relating in some way to change (not necessarily seasonal change, it could be change of any kind).
Well, immediately I think of David Bowie's "Changes"...  and then, thinking of season changes, I think of "Turn, Turn, Turn" by the Byrds.   "For everything, there is a season...    turn, turn, turn."  Bob Dylan's "The Times They are a Changin" is another classic. 

7. What do you wish would never change? 
Wow! Can I make a list??   I'd like to never change my age again!  I want my adult children to stay the same - happy and healthy.  I never want my husband to have serious ailments.  

Beyond keeping my family and friends the same, I never want people with good hearts to harden.  I don't want to see peace change to war.  
8.  Insert your own random thought here. 
We had a realtors Open House today at our home we have on the market.   Instead of "turn, turn, turn" it was "clean, clean, clean!"   Will it make a difference?   I'm not optimistic about it really, but at least my house is CLEAN for a few days!! 

Have a good, healthy, and happy week!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Patience! No need to hurry through the Hodgepodge.

The Hodgepodge took last week off but it's back again today.  Just for fun, on Tuesdays, our leader comes up with 7 questions and posts them online.  Then we answer them and we meet back and share our answers on Wednesdays.  Want to join in?  Just let me know and I will pass along our leader Joyce's info to you.  In the meantime, here is this week's questions with my answers. 
1. What's changed in your life, home, or community since your last birthday? 
I can't think of a big change that has happened since my last birthday - which is December 15th.  But, within the month a big change is 'a coming.'  I have mentioned this before here, but hubby and I are getting ready to downsize our home.  We have our house on the market, and we have already purchased a smaller one.  We have been doing some work on the smaller one, and we are taking over lots of the small stuff that we can handle.  Hopefully next week we will have the furniture moved, so then it will become our 'official' residence. 

We will have a new permanent address.
2. September is Classical Music Month. Do you like/listen to classical music? If so what's a favorite piece and/or who is a favorite composer?  

Yes, I like to listen to classical music but it's not my 'music of choice' when I am doing work around the house or riding in the car.  Classical music has such wide degrees of volume and I find it hard to listen to it well with just a radio or on my Iphone.   I also find that since I know enough about music in general, and about the different instruments in an orchestra, that I can't really listen passively... I need to sit, and really listen to classical music.

Favorite piece or composer?   I have several for varying reasons.  My Lutheran background and upbringing makes Bach one of my favorite composers.   He wrote much of the music used in the early church.   When it comes to amazing piano concertos I love Rachmoninoff.  I also love the beauty of the Chopin Nocturnes.   Oh - and Mozart!  Strings and Mozart!

3. Besides The Bible, what's a book that has positively changed your life, relationships, career, or perspective? How so? 
I just finished reading a book last month that really meant a lot to me, and I may have mentioned it here already. I loved it so much I shared copies with family members.  It is "Across That Bridge. Life lessons and a Vision for Change" by Congressman and Civil Rights leader John Lewis.  

It doesn't take long to read.  Congressman Lewis is such a role model to me on how to work non-violently towards a better life for all. He is a man of faith, and a man not afraid to get into the political world and work endlessly for change and for a better country.  

It's a book that stimulates discussion - and that is always a good thing!
4. I read (here) these ten hobbies will make you smarter...play a musical instrument, read voraciously, meditate regularly, work out your brain (puzzles, sudoku, board games, etc), exercise often, learn a new language, write your feelings down (blog, journal, just write), travel to new places, cook different kinds of meals, participate in sports actively

Are any on this list your current hobbies? Which hobby on the list would you be most inclined to try? 
At this point in my life, I don't know if I want to be smarter - I just don't want to lose my brain ability and become dumber!  lol   Of the hobbies on the list above, I already play a musical instrument regularly, I read all the time, I meditate/pray, I work crossword puzzles often, I exercise occasionally (not enough), and I write my feelings down in my blog. 

So... of the hobbies I do not do, I will say I would like to get into golf again.  I played regularly for a good while but then I backed away last year for two reasons:  I got very frustrated with my game.  ha!  Who doesn't??  And, my back had given me pain issues.  Golfing was a challenge with a sore back.   

I do not have a desire to travel to new places or to cook different kinds of meals.
5. What sports traditions does your family have? 
I can't say we have any long-standing traditions that have to do with sports. But, in general, we are a family that enjoys watching lots of sports.  Especially football.  We are college and NFL fans.  Some of us like watching tennis too.  We even enjoy watching golf on TV.  
I will definitely pass on watching boxing

As for playing sports, we all have dipped our toes into various types of sports... as I said in question 4,  I played golf...and some tennis. 
6. In a few words, weigh in on the current football/National Anthem brouhaha. Keep it family friendly please. 
Although personally I think it's a bit disrespectful to kneel or stay seated during the National Anthem, we live in America and we are allowed Freedom of Speech (and freedom of actions that do not harm others) and we have the right to express ourselves.  Many citizens of other countries do not have that opportunity.

I think the media again is making this a bigger deal than it should be. And, I think once again it causes people to 'take sides' and I don't think we need to be so divisive all the time. 
7. Where do you have loads of patience, and where do you most lack patience? 
Ha!  Why is it easier to think of the times I lack patience?!?    I lack it when I get behind a slow driver in the left lane.  I lack it when someone is in line to buy something - and then they get up to the counter and are not prepared to 'check out'... and I lack it when I think something is easy to do, but someone else finds it difficult.  
Where am I most patient?   I do not mind waiting in a long backed up traffic line (or in a  standstill) when I know it's due to a car accident ahead of me.  I pray for the people involved and realize being late to where I am going is no big deal compared to those involved in the accident. 
8. Insert your own random thought here. 
I have not watched "Dancing with the Stars" for a few years - but I did last night.  I was one of those who wondered about how it would go with Ryan Lochte on last night's show.   Yep. The network pulled me in.   If you watched too, you saw, but more 'heard,' the scuffle after he and Cheryl Burke danced.   Someone came out on the stage and yelled about Locht being a liar. I guess the guy was tackled and 'escorted' out.  The camera kept on the judges table during it all.    What do you think?  Part of me kinda thinks it might have been planned...which I realize it pretty cynical of me.  But, how can they not know who is in that audience?  How did someone get in to the room and jump out on to the stage like that without people not knowing ahead of time?    Could the network big-wigs who got me to watch the show last night also had 'allowed' this to occur?   I hate to think so...but I do wonder.  
Your thoughts?
Have a patient week ahead!! 

Monday, September 5, 2016

"It was Labor Day weekend, I was 17..."

"It was Labor Day weekend, I was 17..."   is the start of the lyrics to one of Tim McGraw's biggest hit songs called "Something Like That." 

I can't get the song out of my head this morning.  It's Labor Day.   So, it got me thinking about how this time of year effects me.  Labor Day weekend - the unofficial end to summer, and a change in schedules and attitude.

Here's a list of the good & bad that is rolling around in my head this morning.

* Saying goodbye is sad.  I love summer.

* Football season has started.  I enjoy weekends with lots of games.

* My schedule is busier again.  Rehearsals, volunteer opportunities, etc.

* The extreme hot humid days will be over soon.  A cooler air is refreshing.

* Yes, the countdown to Christmas has started. I saw on Facebook yesterday how many weekends are left for shopping.  Oh please....  no!!!

*  I will be changing out my clothing soon.   For me it's a bad thing. I like to live in shorts and flip-flops.  I don't like sweaters.  They lose their freshness after a wear or two.  They get ratty-looking. I know...  I'm weird.   I don't like squeezing my feet into shoes after months of letting them be 'free.'

* Around here, the traffic gets lighter.  The stores and restaurants are easier to get into...  goodbye tourists!  We love ya but we hate ya!

* We are closer to the end of election campaigning!  Hallelujah!  

*  We have presidential candidate debates coming up.  I think they will be 'entertaining.'  And scary...yes, maybe very scary.

*  Daylight hours get less.  Boo. 

* Time for fires in the pit at the riva.  Yea.

Labor Day Weekend.   It's the time on the calendar that means a change of seasons.  It's a time to shake off the sand, and get ready for pumpkin everything.    I need to remind myself that here, where I live, September and October are beautiful months,  still with plenty of days of warmth.  I need to work on embracing the time. 

As the McGraw song says...   "a heart don't forget something like that"!