Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Wednesday Hodgepodge

Some weeks you get a clever title and some weeks you get just a title. On this last Wednesday in May I'm going with option B for the win. If you've answered today's questions be sure to add your link at the end of my post before you run say hi to your neighbor. Here we go-


1.  How should success be measured? Using that as your standard, who is the most successful person you know? (or one of the most successful?)

This is one of those words people define in different ways. I think of success as the achievement of a goal, and as such I know many successful people. As I thought about this question I decided if someone has a goal and is working their hardest to attain that goal, then I see them as successful whether they actually attain their goal or not. Success comes from knowing your purpose, believing you can achieve it, and then pursuing it for all it's worth. 

2. Have you ever been to a hot air balloon launch/fest/party? Ever taken a ride in a hot air balloon? Is that on your bucket list? According to Frommers the ten best hot air balloon adventures in the world are-

Loire Valley (France), the Serengeti (Tanzania), Napa Valley (California), Lake Champlain (Vermont), Cappadoicia (Turkey), Istria (Croatia), Gstaad (Switzerland), Varra Valley (Australia), Muelle (Costa Rica), and Albuquerque (New Mexico)

Which one on the list would you most like to experience? 

I've never been in a hot air balloon, nor have I attended any sort of balloon festival. It's not on my bucket list mostly because I feel like there's the potential for a lot of motion in a hot air ballloon. Do you feel a lot of motion up there? I can handle heights, just not swaying and dipping heights. I suppose I might be talked into a hot air balloon ride under the exact right circumstances. 

Perfect weather would top my list of exact right circumstances.  

Of the rides listed I'm going with Tanzania because a friend of mine did this and said it was absolutely incredible. A safari is on my bucket list. 

3. May 25th is National Brown-Bag It Day. Did you/will you pack a lunch today? When did you last pack a lunch for someone and what are your go-to ingredients for a brown bag lunch? 

I did not pack a lunch for anyone today. I can't remember the last time I packed a lunch but my go-to ingredients back when I was packing lunch included a sandwich and some fruit and, because it was the 90's/00's, usually a cookie or maybe some goldfish. The food police were not out in force a couple of decades ago. 

I wasn't very creative in the brown bag department. If Pinterest is anything to go by, lunch box ingredients and options have come a long way since my girls were brown bagging it. 

4. What's one of your favorite dance scenes from a movie or television show?

How to choose??! One of my favorites is definitely Anna's dance with the King in The King and I starring Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr. That dress! 

I also really love the scene in The Sound of Music when Captain Von Trapp dances in the garden with Maria. So swoony! 

5. John F. Kennedy made famous the line, "...Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." So what can you do for your country?

Respect the flag. Support the men and women who make up the armed forces. Vote. Lend a helping hand to lift up my community or state in some way. Treat people with kindness.  Get out and see this place I call home, appreciate the beauty that is everywhere. 

6. Weekends are made for________________________.

Less scheduled everything. 

7. On this last Wednesday of the month bid farewell to the month of May in seven words or less. 

Time flies when you're having fun! 

8. Insert your own random thought here.


Question #2 reminded me I have pics of hubs and Daughter1 in a hot air balloon over Disneyland Paris. 


It was tethered, but still a little scary, or so they said. I wouldn't know since I was safely on the ground with Daughter2. 


Why was the center of the basket open? Shouldn't there be a floor there?


Just in case she steered clear of center...


...and stuck close to Dad instead! 




Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 267

It's that time again...here are the questions to this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog then hop back here tomorrow to add your link to the party. See you there! 


1. How should success be measured? Using that as your standard, who is the most successful person you know? (Or one of the most successful?) 

2. Have you ever been to a hot air balloon launch/fest/party? Ever taken a ride in a hot air balloon? Is that on your bucket list? According to Frommers the ten best hot air balloon adventures in the world are-

Loire Valley (France), the Serengeti (Tanzania), Napa Valley (California), Lake Champlain (Vermont), Cappadocia (Turkey), Istria (Croatia), Gstaad (Switzerland), Yarra Valley (Australia), Muelle (Costa Rica), and Albuquerque (New Mexico). 

Which one on the list would you most like to experience? 

3. May 25th is National Brown-Bag It Day. Did you/will you pack a lunch today? When did you last pack a lunch for someone and what are your go-to ingredients for a brown bag lunch?

4. What's one of your favorite dance scenes from a movie or television show? 

5. John F. Kennedy made famous the line, '...Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." So what can you do for your country?

6. Weekends are made for __________________________________.

7. On this last Wednesday of the month, bid farewell to the month of May in seven words or less. 

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Thursday Things

A few things on this Thursday afternoon-

1. Every time we're out at the lot hubs sizes up the overgrown trees and the scrappy brush and the stray limbs which will eventually be taken care of by landscaping or we'll pay to have groomed, trimmed, limbed up, removed, whatever and then he gets that twinkle in his eye and says how he thinks he'll just go get one of those belts and climb up there and do it himself. Yeah. No. 

2. He also eyes the island out in the middle of the lake with that same twinkle, and says he can't wait to swim out to it. Through the channel where all the boats fly. Then I freak out and he says he'll get one of those float things you hook around your ankle so boats can see you so that won't be a problem. Yeah. No. 

3. I have told hubs not to mention point 1 or point 2 in my presence again. Yeah. 

4. The garage (s). This is a part of the house I'm not heavily invested in other than to say I want to park my car in one. Hubs is super excited about this part of the build which I'm just gonna say I think is a guy thing. Our original plan was to have a pull down attic, but then our neighbors invited us into their house and once we saw their stairs from garage to attic we made the change from pull down to actual stairs too.



I am now kind of excited about this space because a) attics normally creep me out and 2) as a result I don't use the space like I should because it means I'd have to climb up a ladder with a flashlight, and step carefully across narrow boards to retrieve stuff without falling through the insulation. This new set up is going to be just like accessing a second story. Winning! 

5. The attic space is huge and would be so easy to convert to a really fun bunk room for grandchildren should my girls give us a bunch. I haven't checked Pinterest for ideas or made an attic bunk room board or anything-ha! 

6. Hubs LOVES a clean garage. He jokingly says the garage will be like a surgical suite and you'll have to glove up to enter. He might not be joking?

7. On weekends we go out to the lot, broom and leaf blower and giant magnet in hand, and we sweep dirt from the framing and pick up ten thousand nails with this beauty-


It's a nailgetter. Also known as a giant magnet, but I call it the nailgetter. It's heavy and you just roll it around the perimeter of the house and nails attach themselves to it which makes for easy peasy clean up. Sort of.

8. Contractors will tell you there's no need to sweep up the dirt and such but it makes us feel like we're doing something helpful. Plus we've lived in homes where builders did NOT clean and as a result when we moved in and vacuumed we found chunks of wood and debris in the vents. 

9. We bought a boat. 


10. It's not in the garage. Actually it's not even on the property because we still need power at the dock to make the lift run and water at the dock so hubs can wash it too much. The lift was installed last week so once the utilities are connected we'll move the boat from the lake where it's currently 'parked' to it's new home on our lake. 


11. Yes I know correct terminology in the boating world is docked not parked. Old habits die hard.


12. The siding people are still at it. Hubs informs me there's about a million cuts they have to make in the trim work so I am trying to remain patient.

13. Trying. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Mid Hodgepodge

Welcome to another week of Hodgepodging smack dab in the middle of May. Answer the questions on your own blog, then add your link at the end of my post. Be sure to leave a comment for the blogger linking before you, because we're all about being neighborly here.


1.  Tell us about a time you found yourself 'in the middle of nowhere'. Was this deliberate? 

Hubs and I enjoy hiking and have landed many times in the middle of nowhere. The first thing that came to mind was a trip we took one April to Dartmoor on the coast of England (to read all about it click here). 


We hiked for miles and miles without seeing another single solitary soul. Nothing but wide open gorgeous countryside and a whole lot of sheep. It felt like we might be the only people on the planet.  

2. What's something you're in the middle of today or this week? 

I suppose the home build would be too obvious an answer? How about furniture shopping? I'm meeting a friend today to sit on some couches and hopefully find a few other bits and pieces we need for the house. 

3. At what age do you think 'middle age' begins? What does it mean to be 'middle aged'? 

It used to be 40 was the magic number, but having lived through that decade already I'm going with 48. That was the first year of my life I considered maybe I'm not as young in person as I am in my head. The bookend of 40 used to be 60, but in my mind that's still very much middle age. 70 is the new 60. 

What does it mean to be middle aged?

I can't read the fine print without assistance. I wake up with mysterious aches and pains known in our house as 'sleep injuries'. I don't take good health for granted, and I spend a lot of time managing said health. I notice and feel gratitude for the small things. I enjoy watching my grown up girls make their way in the world. Life is not an emergency, but I do feel a sense of urgency about time, about the people I love, and about doing what matters for eternity. 

4. Ravioli, stuffed peppers, samosas, deviled eggs, steamed dumplings, peirogis, or a jelly donut...your favorite food (from this list!) with something yummy in the middle. Your favorite not on the list? 

Steamed dumplings or as they say in Shanghai-xiaolongbao. So delicious! I wrote a whole post about them (click here) when I recapped our trip to China back in 2012. 

5. Albert Einstein is quoted as saying,"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." Would you agree? Have you found this to be true in your own life? Feel free to elaborate. 

Oh absolutely I agree. We have a choice to see that opportunity for what it is or to wallow in the hard thing. My daughter and I were talking about this recently, and we decided that in order to know you can do hard things you have to do hard things-ha! I try hard not to wallow...I'm not always successful but I do try. 

6. What's a song you remember loving from your middle school years? Do you love it still? 

Pretty sure I still love most of them because 70's music is the best and you kind of can't help but love it. A few that popped into my head were American Pie by Don McClean, Benny and the Jets by Elton John, Come and Get Your Love by Redbone and this one- Operator by Jim Croce.  He was such a poet. 

I could list a hundred more...

7. May 18th is National Visit Your Relatives Day. Will you celebrate? Which relative would you visit if time, distance, and expense were not considered? 

Now that I know this I'll definitely pop in and see Daughter2, who conveniently is currently my neighbor. We watch a show together on Wednesdays so I guess that's how we'll celebrate. 

If time and distance were not a consideration I'd love to have a cup of tea with my momma and both my girls. East coast, west coast I don't care, as long as we're all around the same table. 

8. Insert your own random thought here. 

Is anyone watching the new TLC show called Outdaughtered ?The Busbys are parents of six girls-a five year old daughter and then the quints who are just over a year old. They are such a cute family, and I hope they stay above the fray that families seem to get swept up in once they get their own show. 

Their program airs on Tuesday nights, but my Daughter2 DVR's it and then we watch together on Wednesdays. 




Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 266

Sorry 'bout that unplanned for little break last week, but I needed the day. And now here it is the middle of May already. Does anyone else feel like this month is moving at a crazy fast pace? The Hodgepodge is back and here are this week's questions. Answer on your own blog, then skip back here tomorrow to share answers with the universe. See you there!



1. Tell us about a time you found yourself 'in the middle of nowhere'. Was this deliberate?

2. What's something you're 'in the middle of' today or this week? 

3. At what age do you think 'middle age' begins? What does it mean to be 'middle aged'? 

4. Ravioli, stuffed peppers, samosas, deviled eggs, steamed dumplings, pierogis, or a jelly donut...your favorite food (from this list!) with something yummy in the middle. Your favorite not on the list? 

5. Albert Einstein is quoted as saying ''In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.' Would you agree? Have you found this to be true in your own life? Feel free to elaborate. 

6. What's a song you remember loving from your middle school years? Do you love it still? 

7. May 18th is National Visit Your Relatives Day. Will you celebrate? Which relative would you visit if time, distance, and expense were not considered. 

8. Insert your own random thought here. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Zipping Up The Alphabet

I finally feel caught up here on the blog, with the small exception of the alphabet I left dangling at the end of April. May is zooming by, and even though the A-Z Blog Challenge officially ended more than two weeks ago, I'm wrapping mine up today.

Z is for Zipping Up The Alphabet

I've been asked a few times now if I'd ever build from scratch again, and I guess my answer is it depends on the day you ask. Today I'd probably say no, because right now it feels like it's taking an absolute forever. Honestly the progress feels so slow, and while I know the end result will be lovely I mostly find the process frustrating. Building a home from the ground up is a huge project and you're kind of the project manager, except not really. Yes you make most of the decisions and of course you foot the bill, but someone else actually manages the calendar.

Hubs and I go out to the lot every week and take note of all that has occurred in a few days time. Always there's been something added which is exciting, but y'all there is still SO MUCH that needs to be done.

I look at the build and think WOW! we've got a lot done! That thought is usually followed by a lengthy mental list of all that remains to be done, and then I look around for a paper bag to breathe into-ha!

I think I'll revisit this question in six months time and see how it all looks from there. In six months time we'll have been living in the house for a bit. Note to those of you considering construction: builders do not want to give you a fixed end date because a zillion things can delay and disrupt the calendar plan. I understand that, but ugh! We'll be in sometime end of summer. How's that for precise?

We will be in eventually though, so if you ask me this question in six months time I might say absolutely, let's do it again. In six months time we'll be living with the end result of all the decisions we're making now. The waiting waiting waiting will be just a fuzzy memory.

In six months time we'll be sipping morning coffee on the deck. Not only that, but we'll be sipping from mugs that are ours. Everything we own will finally be out of storage and sitting comfortably in the new space. Also....hard as it is to fathom right now, in six months time I'll be thinking about cooking Thanksgiving dinner in my brand new kitchen (yes! Thanksgiving is just six months from now people!).

Sometimes I forget we still have to move. I know that seems like a hard thing to forget, but I've been living with rental furniture for so long now I
blockforget there's a whole big container packed away just waiting on a phone call saying please deliver.

But you know what? In six months time that will also be a done deal.

I've learned so much about the construction process, about what it takes to get a house from overgrown lot to livable space, and a whole lot more about myself. In many ways the process of building has been a life lesson in practicing the fruits of the spirit...love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, and self-control.

And like my house I'm a slow work in progress.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Mum's The Word

So remember Mother's Day? I had a good one. A great one in fact beginning Mother's Day Eve (yes that is so such a thing) when hubs and I made a trek out to the lake lot to check on the house progress. 


Much of what was done last week involves wires and such, but the siding makes me very happy. The color is called Timber but I call it brown-gray-green since it can look any of those shades depending on the light.  

It was a gorgeous day and I made my first foray into the lake. Not all the way in, although had I been wearing a swimsuit I might have. The water was cool, but the air was warm so I tested our swim stairs and climbed in up to my knees. 


Have you ever seen cleaner, clearer lake water? 
Me neither. 

Friends who live on the lake came over by boat and toured the 'house', then we all loaded back up on their boat for a pre-Mother's Day cruise. 


Few people can work a holiday like I can work a holiday.

Sunday morning (the actual holiday in case you've lost track) Daughter2 turned up at our front door with an armful of hydrangeas and tulips she'd arranged herself along with all the ingredients for a delicious brunch. She'd baked a crumb cake the day before but whipped up a wonderful western omelette bake and fruit salad in my tiny kitchen. So yummy! Breakfast is my favorite.


There were presents from both my girls including one gift wrapped in a glitter bag. Glitter ranks right up there on hubs list of least favorite things-ha! He is not a fan of glitter debris, but I do love me some glitter especially when it's in the shape of a heart. 


Later in the day we took a walk around the lake at our nearby university, and sadly this picture is the only one I took with my girl all day. We both look a little hot and windblown, except she also manages to look cute while I just look hot and windblown


The magnificent rose garden on campus was showing off for all the moms who happened by.



We had an early supper at Tupelo Honey then hung out in our pjs the rest of the evening. Daughter2 spent the night even though she only lives about 100 yards up the hill, and that was the proverbial cherry on top of my week long Mother's Day extravaganza.