Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 227

Here are the questions to this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog, then drop back here tomorrow to share answers with the universe. See you there! 


1. When did you last 'swim against the tide'? Explain.

2. What's the last self-help or self-improvement book you read?

3"Tolerance is a tremendous virtue, but the immediate neighbors of tolerance are apathy and weakness." (Sir James Goldsmith) 

Agree or disagree? Discuss. With civility please, because I think we have a good thing going in our very diverse (in geography, age, religion, political persuasion, ethnicity, marital status, upbringing, and cooking abilities) neighborhood here on This Side of the Pond.

4. What is one of your most vivid memories of the kitchen from your childhood?

5. How did/do your own children's summers compare with your summers as a child? If you're not a parent, answer as it relates to what you've observed about the current generation of children vs. your own childhood.

6. Tell us what body of water you would most like to be on or near today, and why?

7.  Share a favorite song about water, or a favorite song with the word water in it's title, or a favorite song to listen to as you sit beside the water.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, July 6, 2015

The Birthday Splash Bash

The 4th has come and gone, a very different sort of holiday for us and made me feel a little homesick for tiny town. We had some fun holiday traditions there, plus the weather was just eh here, and I think you know I'm all about the weather. We did barbecue chicken indoors, but we missed the lakeside festivities and our small town parade and spending the day with friends on our very own patio.


Still we managed to squeeze in some birthday fun of another kind. My mom has a birthday this week, and per our usual way of doing things we like to make the celebrating last longer than a day. My brother and sister-in-law had us all come to their house yesterday for an afternoon by the pool, followed by a really lovely dinner early evening. We were missing my oldest sis and her family, and of course my girls who I'm always missing, but the rest of my mom's 'kids' were there, and the weather finally cooperated so a nice day all around.


Here's my nephew trying to escape what we call the depth charge. I've been where he is and there's no escaping-ha! Hubs and my brother entertained my nephew in the pool, or maybe it was the other way around?  Regardless, they did not have to be talked into it because boys will be boys. Also, you should know nine year old boys never get tired.


There was some diving for dinosaurs, cannonballing from an uncle's shoulders, and more than a little splashing.


Oh, and two cakes! My sister and brother-in-law bought these beauties from a bakery in Philadelphia called Bredenbecks. The writing looks funny on the strawberry shortcake, but that is due to my stellar photography, not the baker.


Bredenbecks has been in business since 1889 so obviously they're doing something right. Both confections were scrumptious, and I thought the chocolate was one of the prettiest cakes I've ever seen.


My mom was spoiled with hand made art work, flowers, and gifts, and I hope she felt loved on the day.


 I mean, how could she not?

Friday, July 3, 2015

Friday Brain Dump

Hubs and I walked together this morning. We walk (he runs) most mornings, but normally if he goes right I go left. Y'all there is a whole lot of togetherness in our days just now and sometimes I need to go left. Hi hubs! Love you! He gets me and my crazy need for a little space in my head.

The good kind of space not the spacey kind of space.

An.y.way...we walked. Together. Almost five miles. We'd walked about three when we landed on the road leading to the Duck Pond, and I said wanna go check it out, and he said sure, so we wandered around the long way. When I'm in charge of directions we often take the long way because that's just how I roll. After thirty one years of married life hubs is still sometimes amazed at my complete lack of 'where the heck are we' sense.  

The Duck Pond.


I have not been back in this part of the neighborhood in decades, but it's a place associated with my childhood. The plant life around it looks all grown up and wild, and the water is full of algae and there aren't any ducks but there are plenty of geese and where there's geese you need to really mind where you step, but still...complete throwback.

I remember my sixth grade class walking here dressed in medieval garb. Our teacher was taking a film class and used us students to help with her final project. This was back in the day before YouTube or iMovie or cameras the size of a watch so we thought it was kinda cool. We were studying The Crusades and a hike to the Duck Pond was our version of a re-enactment.

The Duck Pond was a hangout and there were a few houses around, but not like there are now. As kids we rode our bikes there, skated across the surface when it froze (was that safe?), and got into a bit of mischief, some kids more than others which is how its been with kids since the actual crusades. I've been a rule follower all my life so not a lot of tales to tell on me.

Not interesting ones anyway-ha!

We have some plans for the weekend which include fireworks and a birthday party (for my mom, not America although Happy Birthday America!), and later today mani/pedis with my mom and sister-in-law because what is more American than apple pie and pedicures?

It has rained buckets this week and I finished a book I was reading, which was completely melancholy. This in-between season was probably not the best time for melancholy, but once I started I had to finish. A book has to be truly awful for me to put it down in the middle, and this one was not truly awful. Just truly awfully melancholy- The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. It won the Booker Prize a few years ago, so I should have known. Fantastic writing but you need a good long nap, a serious cry, and a box of chocolate to recover.

On a happier note...today my darling daughter1 and her sweet husband celebrate a whole half year of married life. They are just too adorable for words, and I can't help but smile when I think about their wedding day, and their charming home on the complete opposite far side of the earth from me, and the way they look at one another.


Love is grand!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Hodgepodge in the USA

Welcome to the Hodgepodge on this first day of July. Are you in summer mode yet, or like me still trying to figure out how it got to be July? You know the drill here-answer the questions on your own blog, then jump back over to add your link at the end of my post. Be sure to at least say hi to the blogger who linked before you, because that's the neighborly thing to do. Here we go-


1. On Saturday July 4th America celebrates her Independence (If you're not American,  feel free to answer in terms of a national holiday in your own country) What is your favorite thing about the day? Your favorite food on the 4th? Do you fly a flag at your house? Fireworks-yay or nay? Any special plans this year?

I love the 4th, and probably my favorite thing about the day is the patriotic pride on display in the form of flags flying, tiny town parades, and children and adults alike dressed in red, white and blue. We definitely fly the flag at our house, and my favorite food on the 4th would be red ripe watermelon. Fireworks are a must. We don't have firm plans this year, but whatever we do we'll end the day watching fireworks from the deck in my brother's back yard...prime viewing for their small town's spectacle.

2. What's something  you recently got for free?

Besides advice? I guess it would be the scoop of frozen yogurt my pup was treated to when hubs, my mom, and I went for ice cream last week.

3. The Statue of Liberty, The Liberty Bell, The Washington Monument, or Mount Rushmore...how many on the list have you seen? What is your favorite historical American monument, and why?

I've seen three of the four listed, never been to Mount Rushmore although I'd like to someday. Of the four my favorite is probably The Liberty Bell. I love the history associated with the city of Philadelphia and the story of our nation's early days.  

4. When it comes to the news are you more ostrich (stick my head in the sand) or hog (they have room to take a whole lot in)? How much attention have you given the recent news reports regarding ISIS and the acts of terror they've perpetrated against those who do not share their beliefs or support their cause.

I'm probably somewhere in between, but I've certainly been paying attention to the stories mentioned. I think Americans are so easily distracted by things that don't matter in the long run. I wish we could focus more on the atrocities being perpetrated against Christians, and a little less on Bruce Caitlyn Jenner et. al. I'm not in the mood to rant today so I'll leave it at that.

5. We're talking plain ice cream...vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry? Choose one.

It really depends on my mood and whether or not the ice cream is homemade. If it's homemade then give me good old plain vanilla. 

6. Share a song you love containing the word 'stars' in the lyrics or title.

He's Everything to Me 

Some of the best lyrics ever written. 'In the stars His handiwork I see, On the wind He speaks with majesty, Tho he ruleth over land and sea, what is that to me? Till by faith I met Him face to face...and I felt the wonder of His grace...then I knew that He was more than just a God who didn't care, who lived a way out there and...' 

7. Describe and/or say goodbye to June with an acrostic.

Just a whole lot of rigmarole

Unloading boxes, cars, houses, suitcases

New location and never ending paperwork

Eager to get started on the next phase of our home build. 

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Sunday hubs and I met my sister, brother-in-law, and nephew at the Tall Ships Festival on the Camden waterfront. There were ships on both sides of the river, but we parked on the NJ side since that seemed simplest.


One word- crow.ded. The festival was essentially rained out on Saturday, so the whole world decided to turn up Sunday. 


We spent a big chunk of the day standing in line, but the weather was delightful and it was fun hanging out beside the water. Also, stepping below deck on one of the Tall Ships confirmed for me the fact that I was not born for a life spent at sea. 


Monday was a picture perfect day, so my brother and sister-in-law invited us over for a swim and BBQ. We had more paperwork to tend to in the morning, but the rest of the day was spent relaxing beside the pool and sitting in the cool breeze on their back deck while the moon showed off. We decided Monday's weather was going to be included in the top ten days of summer. 


Not a bad way to wrap up a crazy-busy June. 



Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 226

Here are the questions to this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog, then hop back here tomorrow to share answers with the world wide webbers. See you there! 


1. On Saturday July 4th America celebrates her Independence. (If you're not American,  feel free to answer in terms of a national holiday in your own country) What is your favorite thing about the day? Your favorite food on the 4th? Do you fly a flag at your house? Fireworks-yay or nay? Any special plans this year?

2. What's something you recently got for free?

3.  The Statue of Liberty, The Liberty Bell, The Washington Monument, or Mount Rushmore...how many on the list have you seen? What is your favorite historical American monument, and why?

4. When it comes to the news are you more ostrich (stick my head in the sand) or hog (they have room to take a whole lot in)? How much attention have you given the recent news reports regarding ISIS and the acts of terror they've perpetrated against those who do not share their beliefs or support their cause?

5. We're talking plain ice cream...vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry? Choose one.

6. Share a song you love containing the word 'stars' in the lyrics or title?

7. Describe and/or say goodbye to June with an acrostic.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Mishmash

Just a mishmash of things because that's how life feels at the moment. Very mishmash. Like why won't this first line of text move to the left? 

1. Power was restored here yesterday afternoon so whoohoo!

2.  The hydrangeas everywhere you look are absolutely gorgeous this year. More gorgeous than other years it seems so maybe they love an Arctic winter.


In times of transition it's so easy to get bogged down in the negative. I'm a naturally optimistic soul, but even an optimist can struggle with the in-between seasons of life. Hydrangeas are not small dainty blooms. They're big and bold and in your face, demanding you look up and take notice and most every yard in my mom's neighborhood seems to have at least one bush.

When I see the huge bursts of blue and purple loveliness I remember that God is also big and bold...that if I just look up I'll see He's in complete control of where and how I bloom too.

3.  I've been power walking the streets of my childhood most mornings and am reminded of how much I loved growing up here. Neatly trimmed lawns, the elementary school tucked right in amongst the houses, mothers pushing strollers and walking dogs.

The sound of a mower and the scent of freshly cut grass. Does anything whisk you back to childhood quicker than the scent of freshly mown grass? I pass kids riding their bikes to the pool, and remember so well the freedom of my childhood. How I roamed these streets with one friend or a pack of ten, and how a summer day felt like forever.

I'm so thankful for the safe place I called home, for the love and security I was given as a child, and for the freedom to grow up with wide eyed wonder and innocence.  I know not everyone can say that and I don't take it for granted.


4.  This mug belonged to my dad more than 20 years ago, and whenever we'd visit hubs would eye it with envy. Now he's totally legit.

5. My girl loves her some fro yo.


6. Okay, six things.

I need to write about how I can't write, at least not in the way I normally do on this side of the pond. I have no routine here, I'm wearing the same thing every three days because our clothes are a disorganized jumble, paperwork is tucked into bags and pulled out in an attempt to get it together, and just aaaagh!! I'm a person who has always needed space and right now there isn't any. Not the literal kind or more importantly, not the figurative kind either. That's the one I really crave.

I know it's a season and a short one at that. I also know there are lessons to be learned in the waiting, in transition, in time spent here at my mom's and I feel like I'm failing the class. Writing is sometimes just a dumping ground for the day's nonsense, but often it's the place I put my thoughts for processing and making sense of them. When you fall off the writing wagon it's hard to climb back on.

Diving back in after ignoring my blog for a week at a time feels a little bit like joining a movie already in progress. When I write I tend to want all the parameters set perfectly in place before I pick up the pen (mouse). I'm realizing in this particular season that might not be possible.

So here I am, writing a bunch of blobbityblahblahblah, and you know it feels good. Not as good as when I'm organized and clear headed, but it's a start and it's something and sometimes a less than perfect something is better than a nothing.

Enjoy your weekend everyone!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Where is Thomas Edison When You Need Him

So I'm attempting to blog from my iPad and it's not going well which is how it usually goes when I blog from my iPad. Not well. I'm also in a busy public library taking advantage of their wifi and basic electricity because we are on Day 3 of no power at my mom's house. Pesky storm.

Tuesday evening we were on our way to meet my brother for some delicious Indian food, which btw hubs and I had been looking forward to all day, when the weather alert on my phone began buzzing furiously-Tornado Warning!! Seek shelter immediately!! The sky was growing darker and greener by the minute and there was crazy scary lightening striking every which way, and then my brother phoned and said they were heading to their basement and we better pull over and stay put.

There happened to be a Walgreens Drug Store on the corner so we pulled in and very nearly blew away running the long five feet into the store just as the skies let loose in a powerful way. Do you know what I observed about Walgreens as we hid from the storm? Walgreens loves windows and has a lot of them. A lot a lot. As in the whole complete entire front of the store. We moved to the pharmacy in back which was better and waited out the warning for the next thirty minutes.

The worst of it blew on by so we headed on to the restaurant because it would take more than a tornado to keep us from our Indian food. Driving home most traffic lights were out, and pulling into the neighborhood we realized the power was out there too. We figured it would return sometime during the night, but sadly that was not to be.


Small problem(s) in the neighborhood.


There's another pole just like this one down a few feet further so yeah, it's Thursday and still no power. There were trucks on site today so here's hoping!

We woke up Wednesday morning to the sound of my moms neighbor pounding on the door at 8 a.m. That's a little early for company except bless his sweet thoughtful heart, he'd driven three towns over in search of an open shop and was holding a carton of hot Krispy Kreme coffee in his hands for us to share.

And just like that, the world felt less harsh. May there be small kindnesses in your day too.