Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Tripping Over the Hodgepodge

Welcome to this week's edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Just a reminder there will not be any Hodgepodge next week (August 4/5). We'll be wrapping up some travel here and then making our way south, aka moving, so I'll need a break.

Is moving a break?

The HP will be back the week after (August 11/12) so check back then for a new set of questions. We're here today though, so let's get started.


1.  I recently read here about four secrets to happiness from around the world. They were-

Overcome your fears by facing them head on, allow yourself to relax and reset, work to live versus living to work, and find the good in life. Not sure if these are the actual secret to happiness, but which of the four do you struggle with most? Which one comes most easily to you?

Biggest struggle would probably be facing my fears head on. Does that come naturally to anyone? I will say I'm definitely better at it than I used to be. 

Finding the good in life comes most easily to me. 
I can always find the good. 

2. How would you spend a found $20 bill today?

I had a manicure this morning (Tuesday), so might have used the $20 towards that. 

3. Ego trip, power trip, guilt trip, round trip, trip the light fantastic, or trip over your own two feet...which 'trip' have you experienced or dealt with most recently? Explain.

We're traveling to Canada via Maine and back again in the next week, so round trip works. We'll be attending a wedding in Prince Edward Island so trip the light fantastic also works. 

4. If you could master any physical skill in the world what would it be, and how would you use that skill?

This is hard. In thinking about all the possibilities I realize I'm quite mediocre at a whole bunch of stuff-ha! I'd love to be a great dancer, and as long as we're going to master the skill, sign me up for DWTS or the NYC Ballet. 

5. As July draws to a close, let's take inventory of our summer fun. Since the official first day of (North American) summer (June 20th) have you...been swimming? enjoyed an ice cream cone? seen a summer blockbuster? camped? eaten corn on the cob? gardened? deliberately unplugged? watched a ballgame? picked fruit off the vine? taken a road trip? read a book?  Are any of these activities on your must-do-before-summer-ends list?

I have not been swimming at all this summer which is so sad. I love to swim. There's a pool in the apartment complex where we'll be living in less than two weeks, so ask me again in August. And since I've enjoyed more than one ice cream cone a few laps in the pool are feeling necessary. 

Hubs and I saw Jurassic World which I think qualifies as a blockbuster, have not camped, but have eaten corn on the cob because it's not summer without corn on the cob. 

I haven't gardened because we're currently without a garden, haven't picked fruit off the vine, and I only accidentally unplugged thanks to a tornado wreaking havoc with the power for a long, hot, three days. I've been to a couple of minor league ballgames, and have read several books. 

Have we taken a road trip? Um, yeah. We've been on the road more than we've been home. 

6. The Republican Presidential candidates will debate on August 6th. What's your question?

Here are a few things I'd like to hear every candidate address, both sides of the fence or no side of the fence- 
  • What are the two biggest issues facing America today?
  • Tell me why I should believe you're going to do what you say you're going to do. 
  • Do you support a pathway to citizenship for illegals currently living in the US? 
  • What about illegals brought here as minors? Do you support in-state college tuition for illegals brought here as minors?
  • In a few short sentences tell me what America means to you. 

7. What's your most listened to song so far this summer?

I Do by Holly Maher and Always Been You by Marie Hines. 

True confession...those two songs are on my daughter's wedding video and it's possible I watch it once a week. Or twice. Maybe three times. Whatever. Here's the link if you somehow missed it when I linked to it twice before- Best Day Ever Link

Like I said...ob.sessed. 

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

My girls are together in Washington this week. Makes my heart so happy.


"A sister is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost."~Marion C. Garretty

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 230

Hello Hodgepodgers! One item of business to note: There will not be any Hodgepodge next week (August 4/5) as we'll be wrapping up some travel, and then moving into our apartment down south.

Or as I like to call it-Phase 3.

The Hodgepodge will return the following week (August 11/12), so thanks for understanding! Now back to this week...answer the questions on your own blog, then hop back here tomorrow to share answers with your peeps.


1.  I recently read here about four secrets to happiness from around the world. They were-

Overcome your fears by facing them head on, allow yourself to relax and reset, work to live versus living to work, and find the good in life. Not sure if these are the actual secret to happiness, but which of the four do you struggle with most? Which one comes most easily to you?

2. How would you spend a found $20 bill today?

3. Ego trip, power trip, guilt trip, round trip, trip the light fantastic, or trip over your own two feet...which 'trip' have you experienced or dealt with most recently? Explain.

4. If you could master any physical skill in the world what would it be, and how would you use that skill?

5. As July draws to a close, let's take inventory of our summer fun. Since the official first day of (North American) summer (June 20th) have you...been swimming? enjoyed an ice cream cone? seen a summer blockbuster? camped? eaten corn on the cob? gardened? deliberately unplugged? watched a ballgame? picked fruit off the vine? taken a road trip? read a book?  Are any of these activities on your must-do-before-summer-ends list?

6. The Republican Presidential candidates will debate on August 6th. What's your question?

7. What's your most listened to song so far this summer?

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, July 27, 2015

On the Road Again. Or Still?

It's Monday which means time to check in here. I'm so ready to get settled into our apartment and then hopefully into some sort of routine with my writing. We shall see.


Hubs and I have been on the road all week which I know surprises no one, and guess what? We'll be on the road all this week too. As I've been saying for several months now... 'tis a season.

Except I think 'on the road' is a way of life here as opposed to just a season, but I like to pretend one day we'll be settled down with our feet up and no place to go.

Also we really do enjoy all the going, we just need a little staying now and then for balance. ahem.

We left NJ last Tuesday and took our time getting to SC. We arrived on Wednesday morning, and headed straight for the lake to dump a carful of belongings. Not in the lake, but in the storage unit we're renting near the lake. We've got the little red car in storage there too, and she started right up on the first try. That doesn't always happen with the little red car, but apparently heat and humidity agree with her, so whoohoo!

Next stop was back to town to my sister and brother-in-law's home to dump the rest of our luggage, shower, change and then head back over to the other side of town to collect Daughter2 for dinner with the in-laws. Not her in-laws or our in-laws, but Daughter1's in-laws.


Course Daughter1 and her hubs were way over on the west coast where they currently reside, but their families had a lot of fun catching up over dinner. Both sisters were there too, just no newlyweds. Pretty sure we're going to see the kid's in-laws more than they do, but that's okay because it gives us a chance to talk about them. Hi kids!

Thursday I broke down and got a haircut, my first since we moved. I went to my daughter2's stylist so it wasn't too traumatic. Y'all finding a new girl to cut my hair ranks high on the list of move stressors. We had a nice lunch afterwards with Daughter2 (I'm not even living there yet, but already loving how easy it is to see her) and then we drove back out to the lake to meet up with our builder.


He had our actual large blueprints and also the gazillion pages that go behind the floorpans. All the lines and squiggles and footnotes referring to insulation and electricity and foundations and muckity muck muck. Oh I know it's all important, but I want hubs to worry about the part that's not fun. Just skip straight to the pretty drawings of my house please.

It feels very official to have blueprints, although there are still one or two little bits and pieces that need correcting, and we have to tag trees on the lot as to what stays and what goes, and then somebody has to come say it's okay because you can't just knock down all the trees when you're beside the water, nor would we want to, and then there's all the choosing and the paying of course, but still... it's nice to have blueprints.


On Friday we met Daughter2 for breakfast, then hubs drove me to meet up with some college friends so we could transfer my luggage to their car for the ride to North Carolina. We're moving to South Carolina which I know is confusing, but I was going to a sorority reunion in North Carolina. And hubs was going on to Tennessee to catch up with his folks, because we were in the neighborhood.


More or less.


I had a fabulous weekend in the mountains with college girlfriends. The kind of weekend where we talk too much and laugh too much and relax to the nth degree. In other words-perfection. 


The view's not bad either.

The weekend went by way too fast, and on Sunday hubs picked me up and we headed back to NJ. It was slow going because have mercy, the traffic! Yikes! What should have taken ten hours took fourteen so we didn't roll into my mom's driveway until 1:30 in the morning. I know! 

We have a glorious forty eight hours with no where to be, then it's back in the car and over the border. Legally of course-ha! We're going to a wedding in Canada, and since Prince Edward Island is basically the end of the earth, we're making some stops along the way. It's a beautiful part of the world, and we are so looking forward to catching up with friends as we travel north.

Life is a highway, and we're riding it that's for sure!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A Light And Airy Hodgepodge

Is it hot where you live, because it has been HOT here?! Let's dive right in to the Hodgepodge, shall we? If you've answered the questions, be sure to link at the end of my post.  Here we go-



1. Is your home air conditioned? If it's not air conditioned, is that by choice? Did you grow up with air conditioning? If not how did you cope with the heat? Share about a time or place you remember as being too hot-the temperature kind of hot, lest anyone be confused.

Yes we had air conditioning in our home. We weren't falling for that 'You don't really need air conditioning in this part of North Jersey' malarkey a second time. The first time we lived in North Jersey we did not have a.c. We didn't need it often, but the thing about a.c. is, when you need it you need it. All it takes is one 90 degree week in August with a three year old and a ten month old, both covered in chicken pox, to convince you of that!  

Our house in S.C. will have a.c. because I cannot imagine living in S.C. without it. The house I grew up in didn't have a.c. initially, but my parents had it put in after we'd been there a couple of years. I remember as a little girl sleeping in an undershirt because it was too hot for pj's. 

A time I was too hot? How about Sunday when my mom's a.c. failed and the humidity was about 1000 percent? It was repaired on Monday, but once the house heats up it takes a good long while to cool off. 

2. What's something in your life right now that falls under the heading 'up in the air'?

When will the lake house be completed? 

Also, when will the lake house be started? 

The answer to the latter is 'soon'. Not soon like your mama told you when you were a kid and she really meant never, but soon like sometime in August. 

3. Your favorite light and airy dessert?

One of my favorites would be Eton Mess, a mixture of strawberries, pieces of meringue, and whipped cream all stirred together to make the perfect light and airy dessert. 

4. When did you last feel like you were 'floating on air'?

My daughter's wedding day-January 3, 2015. How's that for specific? 


5. Airport, airmail, airtight, airhead...which have you most recently encountered? Explain.

I'll go with airport since I was there on Sunday. We were collecting my mom who was returning home after a trip down south. 

6.  Have you ever been to the Alps? If so where did you go? If not, is this a destination on your must-see list? If you were headed that direction this summer, which of the following would be your preferred activity...a gentle walk, a serious walk, a bike ride, a boat ride around one of the lakes, or summer snow skiing?

I've been to a number of storybook towns and villages in the Alps, too many to list but highlights would include Innsbruck, Seefeld (Austria), Garmisch in the Bavarian Alps, and Chamonix in the French Alps. Chamonix is one of my favorite spots btw, and I wish it were on my travel itinerary this summer. 

Sadly moving house and international holidays do not mix. If I were headed that way I'd love a serious walk or a boat ride around one of the lakes. 

7. What is one saying or phrase that was considered 'cool' when you were growing up?

I was a teenager in the 70's and a phrase that came to mind was 'to the max'. We tacked that on to a lot of sentences, but it was just another way of saying 'as much as possible'. 

'Book' was another popular term, as in "I need to book" aka run/go/hurry on out of here. They don't sound all that cool in 2015, but maybe they did in 1975? Or maybe we just thought they did?

8. Insert your own random thought here.

On Monday we unexpectedly lost our precious dog Dixie. She was thirteen years old, but still so young at heart. If you read here regularly then you know how we all feel about this girl. She was a complete love.


And we are so sad. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 229

Here are the questions to this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge. Hop back here tomorrow to share answers with all your friends and neighbors. See you there! 


1. Is your home air conditioned? If it's not air conditioned, is that by choice? Did you grow up with air conditioning? If not how did you cope with the heat? Share about a time or place you remember as being too hot-the temperature kind of hot, lest anyone be confused.

2. What's something in your life right now that falls under the heading 'up in the air'?

3. Your favorite light and airy dessert?

4. When did you last feel like you were 'floating on air'?

5. Airport, airmail, airtight, airhead...which have you most recently encountered? Explain.

6.  Have you ever been to the Alps? If so where did you go? If not, is this a destination on your must-see list? If you were headed that direction this summer, which of the following would be your preferred activity...a gentle walk, a serious walk, a bike ride, a boat ride around one of the lakes, or summer snow skiing?

7. What is one saying or phrase that was considered 'cool' when you were growing up?

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Stray Thoughts and Minor Obsessions

That title makes this post sound more interesting than it will be, so fair warning. I've been keeping a list on my phone of what I suppose you'd call stray thoughts, and this seems like a good place to put them. Some of those stray thoughts might be considered borderline obsessions of mine at the moment, and oftentimes my blog is where I go to figure that out.

In no particular order...

Iced coffee. Definitely an obsession. I refrigerate whatever is left in the morning pot and drink it over ice later in the day. Like right now. I'm having an iced coffee. When you spend the summer moving it's the little things that keep you sane.

The Royals. Almost an obsession. As in I adore them and read the websites and look at all the pretty pictures every time one's posted. Kate's hair, Kate's clothes, George's soft blue cardi and mischievous grin, baby Charlotte and her fabulous pram, the English countryside...they're all happy distractions from so much turmoil going on in the world.

Earthquakes. Trying not to make it an obsession. Mostly succeeding although hubs and I may have ordered an earthquake kit for our daughter and son in law yesterday. We're not crazy or paranoid but we do have a little too much time on our hands right now, and this is where your thought train travels while in limbo.

Who read the super scary article in The New Yorker called The Really Big One? The tag line under the title is 'An earthquake will destroy a sizable portion of the coastal Northwest. The question is when.' Huh? Why is this the first I'm hearing about plates colliding somewhere besides California? The article goes into great detail about the likelihood of a major earthquake striking the Pacific Northwest.

The same Pacific Northwest where my daughter1 and son in law live.

When my daughter first told me she and her now hubs would be moving to Washington after they married I was sad about the distance, but a little bit happy she was leaving D.C. In D.C. she rode the metro every day and worked a block from the White House, and I remember thinking how much safer she'd be under the soaring evergreens of Washington State than in our nation's capital.

Safety is an illusion. I suppose deep down we know this, but some weeks it's made more real to us than others, and this has been one of those weeks. I've heard so many sad things in the past few days, and that combined with everything splashed across our headlines and TV screens can make me want to hide away somewhere with all my people.

Which brings me to another obsession. This song by King and Country. Oh my word I am obsessed. I play it loud and sing along only slightly off key. I let the lyrics and the melody wash over me as I remember I'm not carrying the weight of the world on my own two shoulders.

None of us are. So many people I talk to feel a general sense of uneasiness these days. The world is shifting in ways that are sometimes confusing and hard to understand. Despair feels close enough to touch.

But then so is hope.

We don't have to carry the burdens of this world alone.  We can set them on the shoulders of the One who knows our every need and weakness. He set the world in motion and nothing is too big or too hard or too heavy for Him. Sometimes it's good to write that down and say it out loud.

Sometimes it's good to sing it at the top of your lungs and a little off key.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Hot Fun In The Summertime Hodgepodge

Welcome to another edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge. We've had a few new faces join the party in recent weeks, so welcome especially to the newbies. I don't ask a lot here, just three little things-

  • Please only link if you've answered today's questions (I delete non-Hodgepodge links)
  • Add a link back here so anyone visiting your blog can play along too. The button code is in my sidebar so you can easily copy and paste. 
  • And finally, leave a comment for the blogger who linked before you because that's the neighborly thing to do. 
Now on with the show!


1.July 15th is National Give Something Away Day.  What can you give away? Will you?

From my vantage point mid-move I will tell you there is always something we can do without. In the past six months we've given away clothes, furniture, and assorted miscellany by the pound. I'm sure there will be plenty more once we're in our still-to-be built house, but for now I guess a smile or kind word will have to do. 

2. Do you have a mantra? Please share with the class if you feel comfortable doing so.

My mantra is simple...'Every little thing is gonna be okay.' 
Because it is. 

3. Who does the grocery shopping in your house? How many times a week do you shop? Do you make a list or pray for inspiration in the produce aisle?

I used to do all the grocery shopping, but in our temporary digs here with my mom we're all sharing the load. I'm sure once we're re-settled I'll go back to my weekly menu planning and list making. Grocery shopping is a chore I kind of enjoy. 

My preferred way is to plan meals for the week, and I definitely shop from a list, a) because I love making lists, and b) I'm over 50. Without a list you don't remember what you came for when you're over 50. Truth. 

4. Is there a TV show you're embarrassed to say you watch? You're going to tell us what it is, right?

Once upon a time I watched The Real Housewives of Orange County and later The Real Housewives of NJ. When it comes to 'reality' shows I might tune in for the early days, but I've never been a loyal fan of this sort of programming. The combination of too much yelling and ridiculously bad behavior wears me down. 

Probably my most recent embarrassment would be Sister Wives. I used to record it and watch while I ate my lunch, but once hubs retired he was not on board so I gave it up. 

I have to add as I was proofing this to publish my daughter mentioned The Bachelor/Bachelorette. I'm not watching the current season, and I didn't watch last season either, but I've seen more than a few of this one. 

5. A recent article listed fifteen words we should eliminate from our (written) vocabulary in order to sound smarter-

that, went, honestly, absolutely, very, really, amazing, always, never, literally, just, maybe, stuff, things, and irregardless

Of the fifteen, which word is your most overused?

I'm going with 'that'. When I edit my writing I find a lot of thats. Yes, believe it or not I start out with more words than you see here-ha! I try reading the sentence without the word, and 9 times out of 10 I don't need it. I know I also use the word 'just' a little too often, but I like it so will probably continue in my overuse. 

I might reduce the occurrence, but won't completely eliminate any on the list except irregardless. That word is mostly misused, and makes me twitch.  

6. So apparently dying your hair gray (in your youth!) is a thing right now. It's called 'The Granny Hair' trend. Your thoughts?

Why???? I don't get this trend at all. Perhaps if all the strands of my brunette self were brunette down to their roots, then gray would be a novelty? I have to say I don't get it, and I'm not a fan. 

7. A while back Buzz Feed asked members to share the most beautiful sentence they've read in a piece of literature. A hard thing to narrow down, at least for me, but let's try. What's one of the most beautiful sentences you've ever read in a piece of literature?

"Dear old world,' she murmured, 'you are very lovely, and I am glad to be alive in you."
~L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

8. Insert your own random thought here.

We move into our rental in less than three weeks. Between now and then we will log over 3200 miles in the car driving south then north then south then further south. We do complicated well. Or crazy? Maybe it's crazy we do well.