Tuesday, March 28, 2017

"Everything is Beautiful... in it's own way..."

1. 'Beauty is in the eye of the beholder'  What's something you've seen recently that you thought was beautiful?

This time of year all I have to do is look outside and I see beauty!   Springtime flowers are blooming!  The  trees are greening up!   Nature is coming back to life here where I live.  It's beautiful! 

2. Our culture and beauty...your thoughts?

Well, obviously there are problems in our culture with what we sometimes think of as beautiful.  It often comes from companies marketing their products to unsuspecting young people (and old too.)   We tend to value the exterior more than the interior.  We value how we look instead of what we feel.  Beautiful is considered skin-deep. 

The confusion is particularly tough on girls and young women.  Too much emphasis on looking a certain way! 

3. Age before beauty, beauty queen, beauty mark, beauty sleep...which beauty-ful phrase resonates with you today? Why?

Hmmm.  Well, I sometimes say I need to go to bed to get my 'beauty sleep' and, really, there is truth in looking better when well-rested.  

But, I suppose I most find myself dealing with 'age before beauty' these days.   My last birthday was a decade birthday and there is no doubt that looking good and feeling good takes a bit more work now!  I have trouble looking into the mirror sometimes.  I am particularly challenged by the change in my skin these days.  What used to be young and moist is not anymore.  Arm skin and leg skin look wrinkly and dry. I have started putting vaseline on at night to try and keep it looking okay.   But, alas, I fear it's a losing battle.     So - I think I need to go back to the question/answer before this - my beauty HAS to be on the inside now!!   ha

4. I read here a list of the top ten beasts animals that scare us the most-

alligators, coyotes, black bears, birds (but pigeons in particular), sharks, bats, bed bugs, rats, rattlesnakes, and the black widow spider. 

Which 'beast' on the list scares you the most? What is the liklihood of you having an actual encounter with that particular beast? Did a movie contribute to your fear of this creature? Have you ever had a real life encounter with any of the animals listed?

Oh, definitely a rattlesnake!   I do not like ANY snakes!  Where I live we have snakes... and they freak me out.    I have had encounters with snakes, thankfully not a rattlesnake though.   Did a movie contribute to my fear?  No, but there is no way that I would want to watch a movie with snakes in it.  I never saw "Snakes on a Plane" for that very reason.  

Of the other animals on the list, I have come close to black bears.  We used to have them come walking through our yard in New Jersey (as did our leader Joyce!)  Now, I live in the land of alligators - and they hang out near lots of ponds.  Once when golfing I teed off and my ball rolled right up and rested against a gator.  And there is stayed!  ha!   I dropped another ball and played on, away from the alligator.  Oh - that reminds me: once playing golf in northern NJ a bear came out to the green at a par 3 when we were getting ready to tee off.   We wisely decided to give ourselves a bogey and skip the hole - and move on!

5. Where were you when you last heard a bell ring? Was it alarming or musical?

Ha!  I love this question!   Why?   Because I am in two handbell ringing groups!   I last heard many bells ringing this past Sunday morning when our St. Peter's group played a beautiful piece during two worship services.  After I finish here, in an hour or so, I'm off to another bell rehearsal.  

Hopefully last Sunday was VERY musical - not alarming!  lol    It was - it was a beautiful piece! 

6. What's your favorite carb? How's that for random?

Warm, soft, fresh bread - from a restaurant

7. Let's wrap up another month of Hodgepodging and life with an acrostic. Recap your month using the word MARCH.


8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

Gotta brag on our South Carolina Gamecock basketball teams!   Both the men AND the women made it to the NCAA Final Four!!   This is practically unheard of - and our state is SO excited right now!   I hope the guys and girls win it all, but if they don't, it has been a great ride for us!  GO GAMECOCKS!!!!   

Monday, March 27, 2017

Monday morning QBing

Just a bit of Monday morning quarterbacking... 

My brain is swirling with these thoughts:

*   First, YEAH to the Carolina basketball teams!   The South Carolina Gamecocks have surprised us all and we are enjoying the ride!  The ending of yesterday's Tarheels game was incredible with the last two shots.  We saw some amazing basketball played yesterday.  And, now it's on to the Final Four!  GO CAROLINA!!

*  It was a beautiful weekend here in the lowcountry.  Spring is just so lovely!  I am blessed to live here in this little piece of paradise.   I was happy to do a bit of planting outdoors on Saturday - and more is to come!

*  The renovations at our house for sale continues.   I hope most of it gets finished up this week so new pictures can go up on the MLS and on Zillow.   Money going out - and I am so anxious to have some money coming back in. 

*  I have said this over and over:    that I struggle with just how much to speak out politically.  I use Facebook occasionally to express myself.  I see many, many posts from organizations and like-minded people who express jokes and serious concerns.   Most of them I see online, and then I just go on by without clicking on them. I don't share them.   But, every once in awhile, yes, I post something.   I don't believe I should always stay silent.   I am sorry to know that again it has upset a friend.   I hope she knows it's not meant to hurt her or other friends, but it comes from my frustration in what is going on in our executive office.  

*  I am filling in for our church secretary a couple of days this week - and I will be in the coming weeks.  She is having surgery and will need time to heal and rehab.   Along with all the music rehearsals, Lenten services, home upgrades and maintenance,  etc. my schedule is busy.  I look forward to a break in summertime.

*   I'm happy my sister is healing after eye surgery.  She is seeing better and soon will look better (after the redness and bruising goes away.)

*  I miss those Lyle kids - all the time!  I have some friends who have seen them lately and I am so jealous.  Every single weekend I am busy with music, but I sure hope to go see them soon - before they forget me!  

*  Another big shootout - this time in Ohio at a nightclub.  Hmmm.   Alcohol and guns. NEVER an acceptable combination!   I can't believe our country allows it.

*  My washer died last week.  I decided to go smaller and with less computerized settings and choices.   I'm simplifying life.   Sometimes bigger is not better.

*  Another struggle for me:  praying vs. action.   Yes, I pray - all the time.   More now than ever.  But, I also wonder what God wants ME to do about the things I pray about.    When should I use my time to change the worries I have?

Gotta run.  Off to meet the day - and the week ahead.    Have a wonderful and safe - and loving week ahead readers.   I appreciate you stopping by here. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Are you mad about Spring?!?

Hello friends!  I hope you are having a good mid-week and I think I know you are happy it's officially Spring! Right??   Here are this week's questions with my answers.  As always, feel free to answer or comment. 

1. Setting aside the real March Madness (NCAA Basketball) describe something happening at your house this month that might earn the title 'March Madness'?

I am definitely experiencing some March Madness these days.  As I have mentioned before ( many times - sorry) we are trying to sell our 'big house' because we felt it was time to downsize.  Months have gone by without an offer and so now we are doing some upgrades inside it to help give the house more appeal.  I think I mentioned before that we bought all new kitchen appliances and had the entry, great room, and kitchen painted gray. 

Well, we have decided to do more!  We are pulling up the carpet and laying hardwood in the entryway, in the great room, and in the dining room.  We are also pulling down the wallpaper in the master bathroom and painting it, and also changing out the faucets, lighting, and mirrors in there too. 

We have hired a handyman to do some 'fix it' jobs that will help the house show better and will also come up if we get an offer and then have a home inspection. 

I went to Home Depot today and spent $400 on bathroom upgrades.  I will meet the handyman in the morning.  I am doing some yard work there too,  So, yes, this is all "March Madness" because I know this is the season to sell.  Spring is here!  We want to get this house sold!   Help - I'm going crazy!?!!

2. What's a favorite made up word from your childhood or a favorite from your children's childhood? Does your family still use the word today? If there's a story behind the origin please share.

Hmmm.  Immediately I thought about how I would say 'buzzard' instead of 'buzzer' when the doorbell would ring.   Being the youngest I was teased about things I said.   And, my dad called me 'misery'... I think he did as a funny, sweet thing - but it is something I remember.  

3. Will you be doing any spring cleaning now that the season is upon us? I read here a list of 15 quick (under one hour) spring cleaning tasks. They were-

clean out a drawer, vacuum furniture, whiten tile grout, dust the nooks and crannies you don't get to year round, degrease kitchen cabinets, wipe down walls, go behind furniture, wipe down ceiling fans, vacuum the mattress, clean the range hood, wash baseboards, shine the stainless steel, clean out vents, tackle the windows, and wipe down gadgets

Of the fifteen 'quick' tasks listed which two most need doing at your house? Will you do them?

Well, not counting the house we are selling - right??  Because I am doing lots of cleaning there.

But, at my present home, I constantly vacuum furniture (sometimes twice a week) - because I have two pugs that shed big time!   Since we have only lived here since October I don't have too much in the  heavy cleaning that needs to be done.  Although, with all the pollen we have had, I definitely need to wash the windows! 

4. A favorite movie set in Paris or New York?

I immediately thought of "Home Alone."   And, the end of "Sleepless in Seattle" - takes place in NYC.  It's one of my favorites movies.  

5. What's put a spring in your step this month?

Just this morning I was at my church and walked by the preschoolers (we have a Monday - Friday program there) and the kids were dancing to music!   I couldn't help myself but jump in and dance along!  Those kids are just adorable!!   

6. Did you ever want to be a teacher? Why or why not?

Good question!   I certainly admire teachers!!   My daughter got her teaching degree and gave it a try. She was batted down by the craziness in the high school environment.  The fear of violence and the lack of parental concern ruined her experience.     It's SO HARD these days!  There are so many things that get in the way of actually teaching children. It makes me sad.  It's such an important job:  teachers are under-rated, under-paid, and have too many expectations beyond reading, writing, and 'rithmatic.  

There have been times that I have thought about it for me.  I mean, I just mentioned the adorable preschoolers I saw this morning... and how I felt the joy of that moment!  I think it would be so wonderful to be a positive influence in a child's life, and to help set their course for being a caring person. 

But, I also remember when my daughters were little. We lived in a neighborhood with a co-op babysitting group - and there were times I watched neighborhood children that were unruly, and too active, and I could not wait til their parents came back to pick them up!  So, I don't know.   Teachers hands are tied when it comes to discipline and they have horrible parents to deal with sometimes, and sometimes administration & paperwork is just difficult.  Meeting standards and following proper procedures!

As I said in the beginning, I really admire teachers!   It's a tough job - and about the most important job out there!

7.  What's your favorite floral scent? Do you have this somewhere in your home or maybe in a perfume? How do you feel about florals in food? How about wines with floral notes-yay or nay?

When I buy a scented candle, or buy one of those plug-ins that release a scent, I pick vanilla.  It's not "floral"... but of the florals I do sometimes pick lavender.   Those are my two favorites aromas.

Florals in food?   No thank you.

Wine?   I'm a dry chardonnay drinker.  No flowery 'bouquets' in my wine please.

8.  My random thought. 

 Back to "March Madness" - I am a big University of South Carolina Gamecocks fan and they just beat Duke the other night in the NCAA play-off series!  It was VERY exciting!!!  So, my random thought is that they may not get much farther but they made it to the "Sweet Sixteen" which is a first for the school - and it's very exciting!!  GO GAMECOCKS!!!!   The Lady Gamecocks are also in the play-offs in the NCAA Women's Basketball League.   I'm rooting for both teams!!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Monday, Monday.... can't stop that day...

Hi everyone! It's Monday....

I have few thoughts rattling around in my brain today.

*  Well, the northeast states almost made it through the winter season without a major snow.  But, it looks like tomorrow will be a very nasty day... and people will have to hunker down til it is over.  Then there is all that shoveling to do.   I'm glad I don't have to deal with it.   Have I mentioned I am so happy I live in the south?  ( :   I think I have!

*  So,  I have Press Secretary Spicer 's White House daily press conferences pop up on Facebook.  I'm not sure why.  But,  I have been drawn in to watch them.   I truly feel sorry for the guy.  But, wow...  what a crazy hour!  I appreciate his talent to avoid questions.  He is getting better at it each day.   And then there is Kelly Anne.    Why oh why would they want to work for that president??   

*  So, who has seen the movie "Moonlight"?  It's available on OnDemand but I wonder if it's worth the money - and will I just get depressed?  Thoughts?

*  Speaking of movies, hubby and I watched "Jackie" on Saturday.  While we watched I realized that I knew a lot more than he did about those moments back then...Why?  Well,  because I am a female and I was more tuned in to the First Lady during the time of Pres. Kennedy's assassination than my hubby. I vivdly remember sitting with my mother watching the funeral on TV.  TV was new with all of the live coverage of events.    I remembered, and I paid attention to what Jackie wore, and the events of those hours.   Hubby and I both found it a very interesting movie.  I don't know if my daughters would care though.   It's all so before their time.   Ancient history.

*  Have you filled out an NCAA basketball bracket?   I did today.  You should do it - because it makes the coming games much more interesting to watch. 

*  The faked bloody stabbing murder in Sandusky, Ohio.   Absolutely stupid.  What are people thinking? 

*  So, I have noticed that many St. Patrick's Day parades happened this past weekend.   It sure seems early.  Why can't parades be on the actual day?    Don't answer.  I know why.  It just seems weird though.

*  Speaking of St Patrick's Day:  March 17th is my mother's birthday. She wasn't Irish - but just happened to be born on that day.   She's been gone since 2003 but I still think of her all the time.   A woman of another time.   Occasionally I see sweet older women and I think they look like her.  It's interesting (funny) because as I age I think to myself that I don't want to look old - and I try to dress appropriate for my age but still dress for the times.   Maybe she felt that way too.  Maybe young people look at me and see this 'middle aged' woman...   not quite yet elderly.   Oh - please!! 

*  Ways to stay young??   Stay current.  Stay involved.  Stay caring.

*  I'm really starting to count down to the CMA Fest in June!!    Right now is the time when fan parties are announced and the various stage schedules get listed.    I signed up to go to the Montgomery Gentry Fan party this time.  It includes lunch, a short concert,  meet and greet pictures, and a gift.   I went to the Scotty McCreery one a few years ago.  It was pretty cool!  And, shortly we all will be trying to get tickets to some of the smaller venues.  You have to sign up on line - and then hope.  It's comes down to random drawings.   We have seen Dustin Lynch and Eric Pasley at the Lodge, a small "up close and personal" stage.   Really cool experience.

* Daughter #2 is a tax accountant and is crazy busy right now.  She has a March 15th deadline, and of course the April 15th deadline.   I got us tickets to the Soul To Soul 2 concert in Charleston. Tim and Faith in concert!  It will be a fun time - and definitely a great "end of tax season" celebration.

*  The Bachelor.  Tonight's the final with Nick.   I don't know if he will pick one of the two girls remaining.  (I will be watching.)   But... it's already announced he will be on "Dancing with the Stars."  The guy has made a career out of ll this.

*  My friend mentioned to me that I should write a blog post about playing handbells.  We do have fun - even if we are all 'ding-a-lings!' Ha!   Stay tuned for it.
All for now.   Tomorrow we get the rest of the kitchen appliances delivered and installed in the house we have been trying to sell.  We should have the indoor painting done too.   Seriously, can someone come and see our house?  Come on realtors...  bring them by.   All the spring flowers are blooming and so beautiful right now.   It's the perfect time to see the place.

Have a good evening all.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Not so perfect Hodgepodge.

Welcome hodgepodgers!  I am not so sure about the questions this week.  I learned long ago that I fall short when it comes to making things perfect, so my answers may not be lengthy this time.  But, let's give it a go.

1. What is one area of your life where you're a perfectionist? Is that a good thing?

Seriously, I do not think I am a perfectionist in any area of my life. I have to say, it's less stressful that way.  If I can 'come close' than that is good enough for me.

2. What's something you find perfectly ridiculous?

Ha! I find striving for perfection ridiculous!  I also find much of what I see on TV these days as ridiculous.  I will leave it at that. 

3. What's a skill you've developed by way of that old fashioned saying, 'practice makes perfect?

Nothing. Like I said above, I am not perfect at anything.  I wish I had more dedication to some things I do so that I would practice more -  to improve.  I think about my music:  flute and piano playing.  I wish I would practice more and work on my skills.  But, I don't.

4. What's your idea of a perfect breakfast?

When it's a rare morning and I eat breakfast out, I will treat myself to eggs benedict.  I also love a good veggie omelet with some hash browns on the side.  Coffee - good coffee with some real cream in it is important too!

5. What's a trip, holiday, vacation, or day outing you've taken that you'd rate a perfect 10? Tell us why.

Recently I went with hubby and some church friends to Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, outside of Charleston.   It was a beautiful day, and the gardens were beginning to bloom.  Camellias and azaleas were flowering.  It is a lovely spot along the Ashley River.   I suggest a visit there for anyone!!  History and beauty together.

6. What quote or saying perfectly sums up your life right now? If you can't do perfect, how about one that comes close?

I like the lyrics for the new song for "The Shack" co-written and sung by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill.  Here are some of the lyrics.  I can relate.

 Ain't it the sinner
Who gets all the grace sometimes
Ain't it the saint
Who picks up the pieces left behind
Yeah, and it's human to hurt the one
You hurt the one you love the most
And you can't find the sun

Keep your eyes on me
When you're lost in the dark
Keep your eyes on me
When the light in your heart is
Too burned out to see
Keep your eyes on me

I hope to see the movie this weekend. 

7. How would you spend $300 today?

My day is already planned out.  I plan to drop off baby layette baskets at Georgetown Hospital and then run over to Wal-Mart.  I need to pick up birdseed, and pet food, and may take a look at the flowers that have come in. So, I guess $300 could go towards that.  I also need to pick up bread for our Lenten soup supper tonight.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Today is International Women's Day.  Are you acknowledging it in anyway?  I will wear red in support of my sisters around the world. I am not holding back on shopping today (see question 7.) Some people are and that is fine.  But, I think it is not a positive thing to do.  We need to do good things, not hurt each other. 

Have a wonderful day everyone....and 'near perfect' week ahead.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Monday morning - pause.

Sometimes I start a post and never send it out for public reading.  I wonder if this will be one.   lol

 Monday mornings are my time to pause, and think, and to thank... so here goes.

*  How was your weekend?  We spent part of Saturday appliance shopping.  After having our house on the market now for 9 months we met with our realtor about ways to improve the place and give it more appeal. I always knew the kitchen appliances were outdated but I hoped that if someone loved the many other features of the home, then they would put in their own appliances.  So far we have had no luck - no offers.    I  know many people like a place that is "move in" ready.  So, that is what we are working on now.

It's weird to pick out a refrigerator, dishwasher, stovetop/oven, and microwave with no plans of using them!   FYI: First we went to Lowe's and we spent more than an hour with a woman named Carol, who really did her best to help us.  Once we picked out the pieces, she went to the computer to see what was in stock.  2 of the pieces were on 'back order' with no date on when they would come in.   We just could not take the chance on waiting.  So, we walked out without buying a thing.  It was a waste of her time - and ours.   So, then we went to Best Buy.  Totally different experience - and better outcome!  We were able to bring to our salesman at Best Buy the same list, all Samsung, and he was able to get us all the appliances - for delivery next week.   He was thorough, scheduled the installation, and let us know of the dishwasher kit, etc.

Today:  I will be calling Habitat for Humanity to pick up our old - but perfectly good and working - appliances.  I hope they take the outside grill too.

We are having the great room, kitchen, and hall painted too.  The 'in' color is gray.  So 'bye bye' to the cheery deep yellow the walls have been.   The wallpaper in the kitchen eat-in area is going too.

*    I don't know if you have heard this:  I follow some women's rights groups on FB and this Wednesday is designated as a Day without Women.   Women are to wear red, and they are to stay home from work, and not shop retail.   I understand that women need to keep politically active and to push back against the changes coming from the current administration.  I am with those women - I want equality and I believe in the right for free choice.  But, I question WHY women should stay home - and not work or shop.   One day of not shopping?  Hmmm. Most shopping is out of necessity.  So, those who don't shop Wednesday will probably shop Thursday.  And... not go to work?   That's just a waste of a vacation day or sick day.  And, really, work will pile up and be waiting on Thursday.   What do you think?

*  We stopped newspaper delivery a while ago.  And, I miss my daily crossword puzzles.  And playing on the computer just isn't the same.   ) :

* Movie thoughts:  Will you be seeing "The Shack?"  I definitely want to see it soon.    Yesterday I found a movie called "Wheeler" on OnDemand.   It's about a guy from Texas who goes to Nashville to make it as a singer/songwriter.   The movie is shot like a documentary - done by a couple of buddies who follow him on the adventure.  If you like country music, you will really like it.  If you enjoy seeing Nashville sights, you will too.   I realized at the end it is a true story.   Don't worry I'm not giving anything away but telling you this.     I also saw that "Moonlight" is on OnDemand. I may have to watch it soon too.... since it won Best Picture (after the crazy LaLa Land mix-up.)

*  "The Bachelor" is 3 hours tonight.  I will be in front of the TV! 

*  Lent has started.  Do you take part on the 'journey to Easter?"   If so, how?    I attend our Wednesday night service each week during the 40 days of Lent.  Before it, our church has a soup and bread meal - and this year the whole community is invited.  So, if you are reading this and you are a local, come on by! It's free.      Have you added to/given up anything during Lent?  Each year I think about what to do.  In the past I have given up chocolate, and I have tried to add something to my life too.  My focus has been on kindness lately.  So, I think I will continue keeping it foremost in my mind.   I have tried to stay open to all people, and not pre-judge when meeting a person, and just be kind!

Seems not too tough?   HA!!!   No!   Especially during these divisive days politically.   I don't do a very good job accepting those with views that are different than mine.   As I have said before, I have a really hard time understanding them sometimes.   I really need to 'pause' more and not lash out on Facebook.  I didn't at one point this last week, and I am sorry about that.       But, saying this, I do want people to know that if I do make myself pause - and then I don't respond - it doesn't mean I don't care.  It doesn't mean I have 'settled' with our president's way.  Hardly.

Hmmm...  I think my Lent word should be 'pause.'

*  We had some chilly weather this past weekend.  Nights with lows into the upper 30's.  That is cold for here.  We have had a very mild winter though, and I am hoping this past weekend was the last of the cold nights.  I am so ready for getting yard work done.  I am waiting to hear about getting some beds in our front yard redone.  We already took down two trees - one was damaged and leaning after hurricane Matthew. The other tree was next to the one that fell into our house.  We took it down because we do NOT want a repeat of that!  

* Things I am thankful for right now:  Monday mornings.  A hubby who gets me.  Daughters who make me proud.  Pugs with cute faces.   Music (although I watched part of the IHeart Awards last night and ending up changing channels - ha).      And you - for reading this.   ( :