Tuesday, January 31, 2017

To every season.... turn, turn, turn.

I hope you are having a nice Tuesday!  Here it is sunny and going into the low 60's.  But, I know some parts of the country are getting snow, and some have some frigid temperatures.  My condolences!  ha!!   Shall we start the Hodgepodge?

1. Can you believe it's the end of January? What was the best day of January 2017 for you, and why?

One best day?  Let me think about the month.  I took down the Christmas decorations.   My brother and wife visited.  Some friends from NJ also came by for a a little time at our riva place.  Some of the normal things started back up again after the holiday break.   We have had a pretty mild January.  So, I have been able to do some yard work, and have had times where I can even sit out back on the deck.
So, I can't pinpoint just one day.  Every day has been okay...oh, except that one day when we got a new president.  That was a bad day in my book.  But, I treated myself on that day to a movie (La La Land - and loved it!!) and bought two new dresses.  I had to make myself feel better.  

2. What sounds make up the background noise in your life?

I enjoy the sound of silence!  i really do!  But, when I don't want that I ask Alexa (we just added her to the house - and she is VERY handy!!) to play some country music hits, or all Tim McGraw music, or whatever I am in the mood for...and she accommodates!   I listen to music when I am cleaning. 

I can't listen to music when I read though... can you?   My brain can't handle both.  

3. I read on the Power of Positivity website a list of ten things to drop from your life right now. They are-

anger outbursts, people who put you down, regret, negative self talk, being a people pleaser, the notion you need to be perfect, the past (but keep the lessons learned!), gossip and judgment, comparing yourself to others, and the word hate (focus on what you love instead)

Which thing on the list do you most need to drop? Are you trying or will you try?

Oh wow!  All great things to drop!   All my life I have worked on many of those issues.  I think now, today, this year, I need to focus on gossip and judgement.   It comes too easy to talk about others, and to think we understand where they are coming from, and then think that they should behave differently - or believe differently.   I really need to work on stopping myself from making judgements.    Dang - it's a hard thing to do!!

4. What is sacred to you?

Just to be sure, I looked up the definition of the word sacred.  It means:  connected with God or dedicated to a religious purpose and so deserving veneration (respect and awe.)

For me,  Sunday morning worship is a sacred time.  Setting the time aside each week, and meeting with others who also respect and are in awe of God, to worship Him, to sing His praises, and to listen to His word.  

Also, being outdoors, and enjoying nature - is sacred. It's God's creation - and it often leaves me in awe. My surroundings of nature is beautiful, and leaves me feeling blessed.  I love moments of stillness in nature. 

5. January is National Oatmeal month. Are you a fan, and if so how do you like it?

I can't remember the last time I ate oatmeal.  I don't dislike the taste, and now there are many ways to add even more flavor to it.  But, I just don't think about making it for breakfast.  I'm into my routine in the morning: a cup of my Cafe Francais coffee... and then a PB sandwich. 

6. What feelings does twilight stir up in you?

Twilight, that time when daylight is fading, and it's not yet night.... is a nice time to take a minute or two, to change gears, and slow down.  I am usually happy to see twilight come.  But, I am much more happy when it happens at 9:00pm-ish...not 4:30pm-ish!  ha!  I love long days of sunlight.  Summertime evenings are the best!

7. Something you're looking forward to next month?

February is not my favorite month for sure. It's still winter - even here in the south.   The weather can be unpredictable.  Like I said in the question above, the days are still short.   By March in these parts we see signs of spring.  Although, this year has been different and I have had jonquils already blooming, and the azalea buds are showing a touch of color.  

Football is over in February.   TV viewing is not great.  So, the month is a waiting time for me.   I try to think positive and use it for reading more books, etc.    Yes, I know Valentine's Day is in February.  But, it's not that big of a deal for me.  I am fortunate to feel love all year long.  I don't need to do a special dinner out on the 14th... or get a gift.  In fact, please don't!  Really.

8. Insert your own random thought here. 

I'm thinking back on that last question.  I used to live in northern New Jersey where February was dark, cold, often snowy.  Dirty... and dead looking.   Roads and cars were dirty with soot from putting down gravel, etc. for traction.  The trees up there all lost their leaves.  Empty branches against a grey sky.  It was very depressing to me.  And it lasted through March... and sometimes halfway into April.  

I still don't like winter months, but I am thankful to live where I do now because it's not nearly as harsh here. It's manageable.  It's enough of a season-change for me.  Spring comes and it absolutely beautiful!    So cheers to the passing of time! 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Dreaming of summer & sand between your toes?

 Hello everyone!   If it's Tuesday...it must be Hodgepodge Day.    It's the day leader Joyce gives us a set of questions to answer.  You just never know what will come up.  

Shall we start and find out?

1. "The cure for anything is salt water-tears, sweat, or the sea." (Isak Dinesan) Would you agree? Of the three, which has 'cured' you most recently? 

Yes!  I agree!  Salt water - or, a good cry always make me feel better!  Sweat - and physical work gets the endorphins going and makes me feel better.  Plus, I like looking at what I accomplished afterwards.   And, the sea - I live near the ocean and I agree that a walk on the beach is therapeutic!

2. What's something you can't eat without salt? Do you normally salt your food a lot, a little, or not at all? 

I rarely add salt to anything, but I will say I have to butter and salt my corn on the cob before I eat it.

3. Sands of time, bury your head in the sand, built on sand, or draw a line in the sand...which sandy phrase could best be applied to something in your life right now? 
Dare I say ALL four of those sand phrases make me think of how I feel about our new leader and our government right now.  Let me explain...
Sands of time - I can only wait as time goes on to see what will happen.  But, in general I am not optimistic. So, I'm hoping the sand keeps flowing and we get through it without too many setbacks.
Bury your head in the sand - Sometimes I want to just turn the TV off, and pretend nothing is going on beyond my little world.  It's something I struggle with often.  But, the best of me (I think) says I must care and speak out sometimes.
Built on sand - Our top government officials seem shaky and a bit slippery if you ask me.   I'm not feeling like we as a country are standing on solid ground right now. 
Draw a line in the sand - I am trying to balance my life.  I try and remember that God is my leader and the other stuff will work out.  

4. A favorite book, movie, or song with an island setting or theme? 

I'll go with the easy answer(s) for me...  favorite song(s) with an island setting!  And really, it's a few Kenny Chesney songs - like No Shoes No Shirt No Problem, Summertime,When The Sun Goes Down, and Old Blue Chair.   I have to also say the Zac Brown Band's song Toes.  

5. Yesterday-did you run your day or did it run you? How so? 

I ran my day yesterday.  In general, I think I always do.  I am fortunate to pick what I want to do for the most part.  Sure, I always have to go to the grocery store, the cleaners, etc.  But, running errands is a part of life.  I get to choose my schedule when to run them,  and I get to choose what I eat, listen to on the radio, TV, etc. and what I read.   I am blessed to have lots of choices in my life! 

6. You're on an island holiday. Will I most likely find you parked in a beach chair, shopping in town, on the back of a jet ski, or snorkeling off the back of a catamaran? 
Hmmm.   I have never been a big shopper and I prefer to do other things when on vacation anywhere.  An island vacation?  I will be parked in a beach chair, sipping a tropical drink, reading, dipping my toes in the water occasionally.   

7. What do you think we humans most take for granted?
Wow! This question hit me out of left field!  ha
Humans in general?  How fleeting life can be.  When we are young we think life just goes on and on and on.  But, about midway through life we start to notice changes - some good and some bad.  We hear of some dying and...oh my - then when they start being your own age more and more it really hits you!  Yes, life is fleeting!  Try and make each day count!! 
In other words, go enjoy that beach!  Put your toes in the sand!

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I just want to send out a 'shout out' to so many of you having crazy & scary weather right now. The video on the news of all the destruction from the storms in many parts of the US is so sad to see.  I hope Mother Nature was kind to you. If not, I hope help is close by.  Take care. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A litle of this & that

It's time for the Hodgepodge.  Are you ready?   Let's go.
1. ASAP typically stands for 'as soon as possible'. What else could it stand for in your life right now? 
Always smile and praise!
2. Are you the last person to speak up in a group or the first to have an idea? Why do you suppose that is? Is it a good thing or no?
I tend to speak up. Maybe I'm not the first one to say something, but I will add a comment or an idea if I can.   I know there are times that I should probably just stay quiet when I don't.  But, I'm working on it.  

3. What do you remember best about being 12? 
When I was 12 years old I was living in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.  If I think back and remember properly, and do the the math right (not always my forte), I was in the 7th grade and it was the year I went to St. John's Lutheran School.   I only went there one year.  My parents didn't want to send me to the big local public junior high because it was pretty rough at the time.   Some of my friends from my elementary school also went to the Lutheran school so that helped with the transition.   

Three things I remember from that year:  Sandy Suppes and I did a flute duet at the band concert.   I think it went well, and I remember my mom being proud of me.   I was a 7th grade cheerleader.  This was a small school so I am not even sure if I had to try out to become one.  ha!   And, last - but perhaps most interesting:  I remember playing 'spin the bottle' - sitting in a circle with boys and girls from my class!  Where were we?  I want to say we were at school!  Where were the adults??   ha!  That I don't remember! 
4. January 18th is National Winnie the Pooh Day. Which character do you relate to the most, and why? If you're stumped go here for inspiration. 
I went to the site and took the quiz.  My result:  Rabbit.   It said that I am high strung when it comes to camping (very true!!), and I that I am a homebody.  I have a keen sense of danger - but, my friends listen to me for advice.   Probably because I'm thinking of every bad thing that might happen! 

I think that sums me up!   Camping and me do not mix.  In fact I was a Girl Scout leader for a few years when my girls were in elementary school. I volunteered for the job, and enjoyed it, BUT I said from the git go that I was not going to take the girls camping. I told their moms if they wanted to take them, that would be fine - but I was not going to be there!  ha
5. What's an app you use that helps simplify or make life easier for you in some way? 
It took me awhile to get into using it, but I now use the Calendar app.  I like that I can set reminders too.  Repeating events, etc.    I share the calendar with my hubby - so he can see what is on my calendar and I can see his. We are not being nosy.... seriously.   It has been helpful to both of us!
6. San Francisco (CA), San Diego (CA), San Juan (PR) San Antonio (TX) Sanibel (FL)...you have an all expenses paid long weekend to one of these destinations. Which one do you choose and why?
Of the "San" cities listed above, I would take that all expenses paid trip to San Antonio, Texas.  I have never been there but I know it is interesting in it's history and architecture. In fact, I have not spent time in Texas at all.  I've just been in airports, and once I took a bus ride to a cruise ship from the airport board at the port of Houston.   That was NOT a very pretty ride! ha   

PS: I lived in the San Francisco area and that's why I didn't pick it.  But, it's a wonderful place to visit!  I have also vacationed in San Diego.

7. Share with us a song that makes you feel nostalgic? For what? 
Nostalgic?  It's easy to think of a song that brings up a memory of times past.  But, a song that makes me nostalgic is a bit different.    There are a few songs that when I hear them I think about where I was when I heard it... and who I was with then hearing it.  It gives me a good feeling of that moment.   So, I will say I was fortunate enough to be at the CMA Festival a few years back when Taylor Swift was performing.   She started singing one of her early hit songs called "Tim McGraw"...and out onto the stage walked Tim himself!!   So, then they went into "The Highway Don't Care" - and yes, Keith Urban came out to do his guitar solo live too!  I think it was probably one of the only times the three of them were on stage together performing that song.  I was in awe...and loved every second.  I did not want it to end!   I was with one of my daughters, and her fiance at the time.  It was truly a 'moment in time' that I felt blessed to be a part of experiencing.   That is what I love about live concerts!  Things happen!  Even the artists get emotional.   There is nothing like it.

So, now, yes, every time I hear "The Highway Don't Care" on the radio I am nostalgic to that moment when I was there.
8.  Insert your own random thought here. 
My post before this one is meaningful to me. Perhaps it will be to you also. I wrote it yesterday when I was having 'deep thoughts' about our country, our way of thinking, and how I can handle the days that are a coming.   It's all about KINDNESS.    Feel free to read.
Have a great day and week ahead!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Day

Today, the day we remember and honor Dr. Martin Luther King and his dream, I reflect...

on me.    On this country.  On our psyche.

Dr. King was an incredible believer in truth and fairness, of equality, and peace.  He was a deeply religious man and he lived his faith in God. He had a talent to orate and to move people. He was able to lead in an uplifting manner even in some of the worst of times.

I was a little girl when Dr. King led the civil rights movement in the 60's. So, I wasn't old enough to grasp the enormousness of it all at the time.  I lived in a sheltered environment and as we all know, the technology for reporting news events was much different than it is now.   I don't even really recall watching much of the evening news (and there was just that one half hour from 6:30 to 7:00pm each day) until I reached high school.  (A side note:  but I distinctly remember watching then and seeing the tally each newscast of the dead in the Vietnam conflict.)  

So, I have received most of my education on the civil rights times and the movement, and of Dr. King, in other ways.  I am sure I must have learned something of it in school.  The basics perhaps.  But, it wasn't really 'history' then. So, maybe not.   I remember going on a Greyline Tour when I visited Atlanta when I was in my late 20's (my hubby was there on business and I used the day to sight-see.)  I visited Dr. King Senior's church, and saw the King family home from the outside... and went through a huge dia-rama museum of the events.  I saw a memorial with an eternal flame.   Since then I have read many wonderful books on the subject, and have seen a few amazing movies too.   If you have not seen "Selma" go!  You must see it!

I was young when it all happened.  And, so it makes me wonder about all the children since...   what is taught in the schools to them?  And, is it taught everywhere - rural and urban areas?  The same material?   Is today, the national holiday, discussed?

Not too long ago I read a book by Congressman John Lewis (yes, the one now in the news for stating he planned to stay home and not attend the Trump inauguration), and he talked of how changes take a very long time... sometimes lifetimes.  It was a very inspiration book to me.   Rep. Lewis was a young man who worked with Dr. King and marched with him in Selma.  

So, I try and remember these words of his... that changes do not happen overnight.  As I observe our country, I see changes coming about as generations do.   Old people with old thoughts die.  Young ones accept newer thoughts and don't carry the baggage.

Back to Dr. King.   He was a man of peaceful protest.    We live now in a time where there is a lot of peaceful protesting going on.  I don't see it ending soon.  Yes, we have an incoming president that is very divisive.  Very untrained.  Very quick to talk without much thought and care to his words.   So different from someone like a Dr. King, or a President Obama.

I have jumped on the bandwagon of social media and have used it for pushing back.  Yes, it's easy to do. And, it's a place I think I at least have some little voice - crying out.   (Heck, I'm doing it right now.)  I want to count.  I want to matter.     Wow! I think I just had an epiphany.   I now know what it is like to feel like I don't really have a vote anymore, or to have a say in matters of this country.  I used to feel my vote did count when I was younger. I use to believe in the system.  I don't really anymore. And, I understand why our youth don't either   I have become sad about it...and at times mad.  I have lashed out.  I have tried to argue my point.     Perhaps I am experiencing a tiny bit (and I mean just a teeny tiny bit) of what the blacks felt for so long.  Or the Hispanics who came here hoping for freedom and a better life.    But not being heard or counting as a real human being.   I think there must be nothing worse.

Yep.  It's not a good feeling.  And, it's not how I want America to be.  This land of the free....  home of the brave (brave in thought - not just military.) Those coming here tired and poor, looking for value and opportunity.

So, here's something else I have been thinking about lately.  Everyone knows: our country is VERY divided right now.  I won't talk about how we got this way, or who all was involved in pushing the people apart.  That would take too long!!   ha     BUT...   here's something puzzling to me.   Somewhere in each individual's brain is *something* (a spark, a connector, an in-born way) that makes them believe one way - or the other.  Right?   Because there is NO way possible it seems to change anyone's minds.  But still we try.        And why is that??

And, knowing this as true...  how can we accept it and get along?   Because we have to!   How can we take the "I'm right and you are wrong" mentality away?   How can we say we care but still not express our side?  

I know I am to blame.  Believe me. I know.    Even though I have expressed to "Be Humble and Kind" for awhile now,  today... this special day... I really hope to start acting it more.    My new year's resolution perhaps?   Show kindness.     I just ordered the "MyIntent" bracelet with the word 'kindness' on it as a visual reminder to myself.

I will struggle.  No doubt.  Because I still try to find the right balance of totally caring about issues and the good for all people, and being annoying and loud mouthed.  I know it won't be easy.   But today, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and everyday I will strive for more kindness. 


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The first Hodgepodge post of 2017.

Some things are new - but some things never change!  So, it goes with the weekly Hodgepodge.  It's a new year, but we can still rely on the 7 questions and a random thought. 
Here we go!
1. Share one favorite moment/memory from your Christmas holiday. 
I had many lovely moments!  I will share with you that the "after Christmas celebration" with both daughters and their significant others, and hubby and I all get-together was wonderful! We all met in Charlotte on the 28th - went to dinner together, and then had "Christmas morning" on the 29th with opening gifts, bloody marys, and pictures.  Then in the afternoon we went and saw Tim McGraw in concert!   We planned to go to the Belk Bowl football game after the concert, but it was cold and windy and none of us were really dressed warmly enough...so we went back to one of the daughter's condo and played games together.
2. What was the best thing you ate over the holidays? Was it homemade or store bought? If it was homemade did you make it?
On Christmas day we had ham, mac & cheese, green bean casserole,  a family favorite pineapple/cheese/crushed cracker dish, and more.  Everything was homemade (well except the ham.  We didn't raise the pig & kill it! ha).   We had store bought desserts.   

I made some of the dishes - along with daughter #2.  
3. What was one of the most beautiful things you saw over the holidays?
I would normally say the "Night of a Thousand Lights" at Brookgreen Gardens.  I go most years, but this year I didn't.  
But, I will say my favorite thing to see each year is all the candles lit at church on Christmas Eve during the singing of "Silent Night."  It really is a beautiful moment in time. 
4. What does fresh start mean to you?
A fresh start means getting rid of the things that were either getting in the way, and/or holding you back from doing something.  It means having a new set of eyes, and hopefully a new attitude. 
It means wiping the slate clean.  But, not necessarily forgetting what you learned from the past! 

5. On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being very positive and 1 being not so great) how would you rate 2016 in terms of personal achievement and well being? Explain. 
I will give myself an 8.  It was a good year for me.  I didn't set any huge goals at the beginning of the year and I certainly didn't make a resolution to get caught up in.   So, I'm happy with the way my year went.   I have stayed relatively healthy - and happy!  I really can't ask for more.  (I didn't give myself a 10 because I didn't do something, or learn something, that was really 'over the top'.  But I am very content with an 8!  lol)

6. Every January 1st since 1976 Lake Superior University has published a list of words they'd like to see banished from the Queen's English. Words may be banished due to misuse, overuse, or just general uselessness. Go here to read more about how the words were chosen or, if you're like me, to find out what in the world the word or phrase even means or the context in which it's used. There were quite a few on this year's list I'd never heard before.

Here's the 2017 list of banished words-

You, Sir-focus-Bete Noire-Town Hall Meeting-Post Truth-guesstimate-831-historic-manicured-echo chamber-on fleek-bigly-ghost-Dadbod-listicle-get your dander up-selfie drone-frankenfruit-disruption

Which word on the list would you most like to see banished in 2017? What word or phrase would you add to the list?

I'm with Joyce in that I haven't even heard some of these phrases.   Guess I need to look them up. Obviously, they are not used often in the circles I run!
Of those I do recognize, I think we won't be hearing "Town Hall Meeting" until the next campaign season rolls around.  Thank goodness!     The word "historic" is used too much, and is not always used properly.  I think it has become a word to use when something is really special, and perhaps unique.  Will it be remembered in history?   Perhaps not.  
I like "Dadbod" because I totally get it's definition! I know a few!  Others on the list I don't mind either.  So, I will say let's ban "selfie drone" - both the term and the action!!  In general, drones scare me!  I'm not worried about being caught doing something wrong with one, but they do seem to sound like legit spying to me.  

7. Large or small, light or deep, share with us one goal you have for the new year. 
Oh, so now I have to come up with a goal!  Hmmm     I guess my goal for the year is to work better on keeping healthy.  Because, you know, when you have your health you have everything! Right?    I have been fortunate up to now that I have been in good health without trying too hard.  But, last month I turned a new decade and it has me thinking that its going to get tougher to maintain myself! 
8. Insert your own random thought here.

Gotta ask...  anybody watching The Bachelor?  Are you rooting for Nick to finally find true love??  The fourth time is a charm!!   I hope!

See you here in two weeks.  Joyce is traveling next week so she won't be posting any questions.  

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Hello 2017

H A P P Y     N E W     Y E A R   ! ! ! !

Today is January 1, 2017.            2017.          We all have to get used to writing that!      

I sit here thinking of all the fun and good things that happened in 2016.  Too many to remember really!   The wonderful times at the riva with family and friends - especially the annual 4th of July gathering. The love of our pugs and their amusing faces.   The annual trip to the CMA Fest and all the other concerts I attended.   Playing handbells and flute in various places with musical friends

Boating trips on the SC rivers.   Many great books read and interesting book club discussions.  A new home and a new street-ful of friends. The quilting group at church.   The annual family get-together at Lakeside and then Dad's 90th birthday! 

We had no serious accidents or illnesses in 2016.   We survived hurricane Matthew's visit (more or less.  Out of small disasters come beautiful moments.)   I turned a new decade.  Stan continued to work - and work out.   We live in a beautiful place on this earth.    We joyfully downsized and it became an exercise in putting 'things' into perspective and knowing it really isn't a big deal.

The year was at times crazy, and sometimes funny, with all the political debates.  TV highlights were the final year of "American Idol" (or is it?) and the special 4 show return of the "Gilmore girls."

The election result sent me into a funk.   But, it has caused me to perhaps widen my perspective of America....and to put my faith in God.

As I think of what 2017 will bring, I admit I worry.  But, I also know that each day I will experience the love of family and friends.  Stan, Lauren, Ryan, Kristen.   I could never ever ask for anything better... then our connection!!   Our little family is the best!  Our text messages keep us close when not together.   Our goofy Friday night bar pictures sent each week are fun.

So, I look forward eagerly to what 2017 brings.   I pray we stay healthy.  Safe.  I pray for peace in our country.  For level heads to make the right decisions.   For love of family, neighbor, and for thoughts of what is best for 'everyman' will rule the year ahead.

Blessings to you all.  2017 -   bring it on!!