Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Sky Blue Hodgepodge

Welcome to the Wednesday Hodgepodge! Grab your coffee or your tea or your ice water with a slice of lemon and settle in for a chat.  Be sure to add the link to your own answers at the end of my post.  Here we go-


1. When I look at the sky I feel ______________________________________.


...anything is possible. 

I'm completely enamored of the sky. A soft summer blue, a deeply royal cloudless October, a pale hopeful white it's gonna snow in January...they all make me feel quite a lot. 

2. If you had to run for political office, which one would you run for? Do you have any real desire to actually do this?

Sometimes I feel so frustrated with our government I think I'd like to get in there and do something, but isn't that how most politicians begin? Then somewhere along the road from idealism to accidentally-making-it-a-career they lose sight of why they ran in the first place. Not all, but most. I'm for term limits.  If there were term limits, then maybe.

When I think of which office I'd run for, I'm stumped. School board? No. City council? Even at the local local local level of government politics seems to rule the day, so no. Mayor? Maybe I'd start there. If I were starting anywhere. Which I'm not. Next question.

3. What scent makes you think of home?

freshly mown grass, laundry right out of the dryer, a turkey roasting in the oven  

4. How often do you take a step back to think about where you're headed in life? Do you need more or less self-reflection?

I think in this empty nest stage of life a bit of self-reflection is warranted. Too much is never a good thing, but I do like setting goals, knowing my purpose, and figuring out new ways to use my gifts, no matter what season of life I'm in. 

5. July is National Ice Cream Month...besides a cone, what's your favorite food item to top with ice cream?

I'm going with a brownie. A scoop of vanilla ice cream atop a warm brownie is one of the best things I know. I haven't had a brownie in eons, but when I do it will be topped with a scoop of vanilla.  

6. What might your autobiography be called?

If I tell you now, you won't be surprised when I write it. 

You think I'm kidding. 

I have a title, I just need the story, and it wouldn't be so much an autobiography, as a memoir. That's as far as I've gotten. 

7. Your least favorite mode of transportation? Why?

Ferries. 

Why? I don't know what it is about ferries, but I cannot ride one without wanting to lose my lunch.  I'm always pretty susceptible to motion sickness, but ferries really do me in. 


Here I am on the ferry from Capri to Amalfi. It was chilly up top, but I'd ridden over down below and (barely) lived to regret it. I told hubs I didn't care what the weather was doing, I was making the trip back to Amalfi up top. He thought he was hilarious taking my picture, and I look a little mad, but I'm not. It was blowing a gale and water was pelting my face. My stomach was a-okay though, and that's all I cared about in that moment. 


Here I am (barely) recovering from a ferry ride to an island off the coast of Hong Kong. I'm the one nursing a Sprite. We rode a ferry over to a fishing village. 

That smelled like fish. 

Which is not what you want to smell when your stomach is rebelling against a ferry ride.  

So yeah, ferries. 

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

So it's that time. Time to begin the great mother-of-the-bride dress hunt, and I'd like you to weigh in on something. If the bridesmaids are in long gowns should the mothers be as well? Or can we wear short without breaking some kind of unspoken law of etiquette? The only request my daughter has is that we both wear the same length. She doesn't want me in short and his mom in long or vice versa.  






Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 183

Here are the questions to this week's Hodgepodge...answer on your own blog, then hop back here tomorrow to join the linky party.  See you there-


1. When I look at the sky I feel________________________________________.

2. If you had to run for political office, which one would you run for? Do you have any real desire to actually do this?

3. What scent makes you think of home?

4. How often do you take a step back to think about where you're headed in life? Do you need more or less self-reflection?

5. July is National Ice Cream Month...besides a cone, what's your favorite food item to top with ice cream?

6. What might your autobiography be called?

7. Your least favorite mode of transportation? Why?

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, July 21, 2014

In The Good Old Summertime

We had a quiet weekend here and it was nice. Better than nice. It's Monday and I feel rested, grateful, and content. I enjoy going and doing and seeing and people. I also know I need solitude, nature, stillness and slow added to the mix every now and then.


We didn't do much of anything to write home about. Hubs ran, I gardened, he washed the cars, I dusted, he grilled, I read a book. We napped, watched movies, and took the little red car for a spin.


We sat in the backyard and watched hummingbirds hum and a team of chipmunks give chase. They dart in and out and over the boulders like small children in a game of tag.


Where's Waldo?


We concentrated on the cacophony of sounds coming from the woods. The catbird has returned and she's noisy. You'd swear there was a cat caught in the shrubbery instead of a bird who sounds like one. The woodpecker has a lot to say too, as do any number of unidentifiable birds and creatures. The leaves are thick on the trees just now, but we imagine all the life that lurks there, in the backyard woods.

We laughed at our bird dog who didn't so much as bat an eye when our magnificent hawk buzzed the patio. Literally, about two feet above her head. If she'd lifted a paw, she could have grabbed it. She did not. The lazy days of summer my friends.


The hawk used to sit at the very tippy top of one of our tallest trees, but lately has taken to perching herself on the peak of our roof. From there she surveys her domain and we sit completely still so as not to disturb her reverie.

And then there was the sky.


That glorious summertime blue sprinkled with cotton ball clouds that make you feel like anything is possible.


"In summer, the song sings itself." William Carlos Williams

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Wedding Planning 101

So it's been pretty much all wedding all the time around here in recent weeks and I'm not sharing a lot of detail online, hence the lack of posting here. I spend my days on the phone, online, booking, signing, copying, faxing, and paying. My head is filled with guest lists and due dates and timelines and all the many other decisions still to be made. I'm thinking Daughter2 will benefit from all I'm learning this go round when she's ready to plan a wedding.

I can't decide if there has been a little stress because of the logistical complexities we're dealing with or if it's because wedding planning is always a little stressful. Course it could also be related to the fact that we are a family of four who know what we want and we want it now.

If I had to guess I'd say probably a little bit of everything, but that last bit tends to be the one that keeps me awake at night.

We like what we like-ha! That's something we say in a joking way around our house, except we're not really joking. We all really do like what we like, and mostly that's a good thing because, whew! All.the.choices. No wonder so many brides feel overwhelmed. It honestly does help that my daughter knows her own mind when it comes to how she wants her day to look and feel.

And luckily I've got my trusty binder to keep me on track. There are all sorts of binders and organizational tools out there for the bride-to-be, but trust me... the mother of the bride-to-be needs one too.  I bought a plain white binder and found a cute printable for the front insert-


I printed a couple of engagement pics for the back-


Voila! A mother-of the bride-binder. A place to keep track of all my many papers, contracts, receipts, deadlines, and contact information. Every mother of the bride needs one.

We've finally pinned down, contracted, and paid deposits on most of the big things that need pinning, contracting and depositing. That includes the church, the reception venue, the catering, the dress, the photographer, the wedding planner, and the band. The bride-to-be and I will spend a few days in SC next month revisiting the church and reception site before meeting with florists, cake bakers, and the rental company. We'll also get to meet our photographer in person. Daughter1 found him via a friend's wedding photos and he comes highly recommended by absolutely everyone. His pictures are stunning, so I'm not worried.

In fact, while wrangling all of these vendors for the day and time has been a little challenging, there is not a single one I feel like I have to go behind and check up on. The wedding planner will do that as appropriate, but really we've got fabulous vendors so I feel like now that they're on board I can relax a little.

And I will.

Just as soon as we figure out the invitations and the welcome bags and my dress and forty seven other small details, but eventually I will relax. Actually hubs and I have a little vacay coming up, which sounds insane given the fact that we've got a wedding in less than six months, but when you think about it, a vacation in the middle of wedding planning makes perfect sense.

This will be a total vacation vacation. Not a let's see and go and do every minute kind of vacation. This will be a sit in a lounge chair-read a book or ten-swim-soak up the sun kind of vacation.


The kind every mother-of-the-bride needs five months prior to her first born baby girl walking down the aisle, and then right on across the country to set up a home of her own.

They grow up fast, but the sweetness remains.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Bella Hodgepodge!

Welcome to the Wednesday Hodgepodge! Add your link at the end of my post then travel around and see what your amiche are saying...here we go-


1. The month of July was named for Roman Emperor Julius Caesar.  He's quoted as saying, 'Experience is the teacher of all things.' So, what has experience taught you lately?

Well I've learned a few things in the people department this past year, and I'm still kind of mulling it all over. I think I'll write about it eventually, not the specifics per se, but more the lessons learned. 

As cliche as it may sound, experience has taught me, or maybe it's more accurate to say, experience has confirmed for me, the importance of acting with integrity, staying true to who I am on the inside, and how a kind word can encourage someone who feels like quitting to stay the course.

2. Where did you last 'roam'?

Portugal.  

Roaming around foreign cities makes my list of favorite things. 
I don't actually have a written list, but there's one in my head and that's on it. 

I wrote several posts about our trip, beginning with this one

3. Speaking of 'Rome'...pizza, pasta, gelato...you can only pick one, which would you choose?

Pizza. Eaten in one of those amazing city squares Rome is famous  for. 

4. 'Rome wasn't built in a day', 'All roads lead to Rome', 'When in Rome...' which 'Roman' idiom have you most recently encountered? Explain.

Definitely 'when in Rome...'  That's kind of my travel mantra and it's a good one. That little saying is the pep talk I give myself when I'm handed an unidentifiable 'local' food in a foreign country. It's the proverbial push I need to embrace all sorts of opportunities that arise when trekking someplace new and different. 

Sometimes I need to be pushed.  
Just ask the hubs!   

5. What's a movie you've seen or book you've read, that makes you want to book a trip to Italy?

Under the Tuscan Sun makes me want to move to the Italian countryside and buy a fixer upper villa. Except from what my friends who've lived in Italy tell me, dealing with the red tape there is not quite as 'charming' as the movie makes it seem. 

6. Walt's original Disneyland opened almost sixty years ago this week, on July 17, 1955.  Have you ever been to the California park? How about any of the other Disney parks around the world? What's your favorite amusement park ride or attraction?

I've never been to Disneyland California, but I have been to Disney World in Orlando several times, and also Disneyland Paris, some 9102 km from the original.  The sign said so.


  
I haven't been to a Disney park since 2007, so way overdue for a visit. 

I don't know if I have a favorite ride, but I do have a definite do-not-ride list. Ha! I'm not a fan of roller coasters, or any ride whose sole purpose is to spin me ad nauseam or turn my stomach upside down. I like the Disney parks because they have so many rides that fall more under the category of attraction, and attractions are more my thing. 

7. It's that time of year...when were you last bitten or stung?

I honestly can't remember, unless you count a couple of mosquito bites I acquired while sitting outside this past weekend.  

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

My random thoughts on Wednesdays have been a little lame lately-sorry. There's plenty of random in my head, just not enough space left over to formulate it into something coherent. How about a dog video? One minute guaranteed to make you laugh.










Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 182

I guess I won't bother saying that eventually I'll catch up around here, because I'm beginning to doubt it myself. How about I just post the questions for this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge, and we'll see how the day goes?

Whether your brain feels too full lately or not full enough, there's always the Hodgepodge to provide a little mid-week focus.


1. The month of July was named for Roman Emperor Julius Caesar. He's quoted as saying, 'Experience is the teacher of all things." So what has experience taught you lately?

2. Where did you last 'roam'?

3. Speaking of 'Rome'...pizza, pasta, gelato...you can only pick one, which would you choose?

4. 'Rome wasn't built in a day', 'All roads lead to Rome', 'When in Rome...' which 'Roman' idiom have you most recently encountered? Explain.

5. What's a movie you've seen or a book you've read, that makes you want to book a trip to Italy?

6.  Walt's original Disneyland opened almost sixty years ago, on July 17, 1955  Have you ever been to the California park? How about any of the other Disney parks around the world? What's your favorite amusement park ride or attraction?

7. It's that time of year...when were you last bitten or stung?

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Come back tomorrow and add your link to the party...see you there!


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Front Porch Hodgepodge Sittin'

Welcome to this July edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Add the link to your answers at the end of my post, then grab your ice cold lemonade and go say hey to all your friends neighbors. 


1. July is National Anti-Boredom Month. When was the last time you were bored? What's your go-to cure for boredom?

Hmmm...I don't even know. Maybe 1974? I'm never bored. 

My go-to cure for boredom? Read, write, nap, cook, call my mom, a cup of tea on the patio or in my sunny sunroom, make some lists...any or all of the above work for me.  

2. What's the last thing you made a reservation for?

Have mercy. We have been the reservation making fools around here in recent days. I will attempt to outline it for you here. Strap in-

a) planes, rental cars, pet and human lodging for our beachy getaway later this summer 

b) an 80th birthday celebration for my father in law happening in Tennessee that has me arriving from SC, but returning home from TN with my hubs, who will either drive or fly from NJ after we figure out what to do with the dog, who will only have been home from the kennel following our beach trip the week before, and then my girls also coming from hither and yon 

c) firm date and logistics for family and bridesmaids to travel/stay in MD the weekend of the bridal shower when the bridesmaids alone live in 8 cities, 6 states, and two countries, let's not even count the places family comes from

d) Christmas arrangements which may or may not involve travel, rentals, a kennel, and 

e) can't forget a fabulous wedding soon after, many states away, which definitely involves a whole lot of reserving everything under the sun including travel, hotels, rentals, a caterer, photographer, florist and more. 

Do you see why hubs and I need that beach trip???
And why I'm never ever bored???

3. What's one thing on your summer bucket list? Any plans to make it happen?

A week with my toes in the sand, a book in my lap, and a glorious sunset sky.

Any plans to make it happen? Absolutely. 

4. What's your favorite summertime sip?

Pimm's, but that's a rare treat. My most sipped summertime sip thanks to the daily email reminders from the boot camp instructor is water. 

5. What do you find is the best way to handle another person's hostility and hopefully ease the tension?

Do.not.engage. 

Step away from the offender if at all possible. Of course there are oftentimes where that's just not possible, and if that's the case then I try to say very little. In my experience lots of words just add fuel to their fire. 

Hostile people. Shudder. Ugh. Ick. But...

I do try to remind myself that person has a story, and perhaps their story is painful and hard. I don't think that excuses bad behavior, and in my opinion hostile behavior is near the top of the list of bad behaviors, but still they are the way they are for some reason and it's not me it's them. 

6. Your favorite film set in summer?

That's a toughy, but I'm going with The Parent Trap, either the original with Hayley Mills or the remake with Lindsey Lohan. It's one film that makes my top ten in any setting. 

7. What's a word you're using too much of lately.

I'm stumped. I think that second question did me in-ha! How about 'book' as in reserve that plane seat, hotel room, venue, rental car, you get the idea.  It's all fun stuff that I'm excited about though, most especially #2-e. 

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Humans are awesome-







and a little bit crazy!