Friday, January 19, 2018

Friday Five Ish

I intended to participate in Five Minute Friday today, but I saw the prompt and changed my mind.  This week's one word prompt was 'intentional' and that felt too deep for me this morning even though I did  just use a form of the word in my first sentence

Let's talk about fluff instead. 

First of all, this little mancub! Look at him sitting up in the grocery cart! 



Y'all he is just the cutest thing I've ever seen. We FaceTime often and I wish I could crawl right through the screen and kiss his rosy cheeks in person. 



Hubs and I and refer to him often as the mancub because he's like an adorable little bear, and so full of personality. I think mancub might become his blog name. 

In other news, we had snow this week. Not SNOW!!! but snow. It stuck to the grass and made the trees gorgeous, but our roads have been fine. My daughter2 teaches a couple of counties over and they are still closed today so I guess they had more ice than we did. It doesn't take much 'round here. 



Snow was predicted to begin overnight Tuesday into Wednesday and I was so happy to wake up and see a blanket of white. Not a deep blanket, more like a flimsy coverlet, but still so pretty. Hubs will tell you he does not miss the snow at all but I miss it a little. I love the way snowfall brings a silent stillness to a planet that surely needs it. 

Plus here in the southland there's no chipping ice off the front steps for days on end, no fifteen foot icicles hanging from the gutters causing damming which then causes water to run down the interior wall of your home, no sooty black snow mountains in parking lots making it hard to see, and no week after week of sub zero temps. In fact it's supposed to be sunny and low-60's tomorrow which makes it easy to love a snow day in January. 

Hubs and I have both been reading a lot this month, mostly by the fire because snow!  I just finished  The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine. Has anyone read it? The book got great reviews on Goodreads, but I didn't care for it. The characters are so unlikable and the dialogue felt like high school. It's been compared to a Gone Girl type thriller, but I'd say that's a ginormous stretch. Would be curious to know if anyone else has read it and what they thought. 

One interesting thing, the 'author' is actually two sisters who've combined their names to form the name Liv. They live several states apart but write back and forth via FaceTime and email. 

Besides reading we've been watching some Netflix and catching up on our favorite shows including The Good Doctor, The Brave, and Victoria. Is anyone watching Victoria on PBS? It's really good and filling the TV viewing void left by The Crown. 

Our girls gave us a Legacy Box for Christmas and we finally got that sent off. It seemed simple on the surface, but of course I excel at complicating the simple. We could send ten items in our box-VHS tapes, 8 mm tapes, photos, or slides. Twenty five photos count as one item. We have all our 'baby' tapes on VHS and I knew we needed to start with those, but hubs was keen to send in some 8 mm too because all the Europe years are on 8mm. I think it's 8mm? It's not VHS and it's not DVD so it's whatever that technology thing was that came after the DVD but before the iPhone camera. We'll be getting everything back on DVD plus a memory stick. 

We knew the VHS tapes were in a box in the garage, and hubs was certain the 8mm were in the camera bag. Except they weren't which led to us opening all kinds of boxes in the storage area which led to a trip to Goodwill and the dump and then turning the house upside down trying to find those tapes. I was 100% certain I had not seen them or touched them since the move. Hubs was positive we had them when we left NJ, but I swore up and down I had not laid eyes on them. 

Except somehow they ended up in a totebag in my closet. 

oops. I kind of sort of now remember dropping the bag in there mid-move and then promptly forgetting about it. Obviously. On the bright side, we got some of that storage area emptied and the legacy box mailed so all's well that end's well.

Happy weekend everyone! 
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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Hit Me Hodgepodge One More Time

Welcome to this week's edition of The Wednesday Hodgepodge. If you've answered the questions today add your link at the end of my post. Be sure to leave a comment for your neighbor because that's what makes the Hodgepodge roll. Here we go-


From this Side of the Pond  


1. What keeps you blogging?

My love of writing, my love for the written word, the space and opportunity provided to record events and memories and the everyday ordinary stuff of life. What in the world would I do with all the words in my head if I didn't blog? 

2. Some people like to travel in the winter months. Do you enjoy the beach in winter? According to Southern Living the best U.S. beach towns to visit this winter are-

St Simons Island (Georgia), Hilton Head (South Carolina), Bald Head Island (North Carolina), Seaside (Florida), Bay St. Louis (Mississippi), Cape San Blas (Florida), South Padre Island (Texas), Folly Beach (South Carolina), Chincoteague (Virginia), Duck Key (Florida), Nags Head (North Carolina), and Fairhope (Alabama)

Have you been to any of the towns listed (in any season)? Which on the list appeals to you most this winter?

My love of travel in any season of the year is a well established fact on From This Side Of The Pond. I am trying to avoid air travel in the middle of this year's flu season, but many of these beach destinations are within a day's drive so could happen.  I've been to Hilton Head, Folly Beach, Duck Key, and Nags Head. Hilton Head is the only one I've visited in the winter months, and like I said I think the beach is beautiful year round. I love Duck Key and would probably opt for that one in the winter months. Or Seaside. I've never been but have heard it's lovely.

3. What's a song you're embarrassed to know all the lyrics to? Are you really embarrassed or do just think you should be?

I don't think I'm embarrassed to know any song lyrics, but I suppose it might depend on the setting in which I were asked to share. In the privacy of my own shower/car/kitchen there's no song I'm too embarrassed by to sing. 

How 'bout Britney Spears Hit Me Baby One more time or The Spice Girls Wannabe? What can I say...my girls were children of the 90's, and honestly I'm not really embarrassed to know the lyrics. Actually singing the lyrics in the presence of anyone outside my immediate family would be embarrassing but that's not what the question asked. 

4. When you were a kid what's something you thought would be fantastic as an adult, but now that you're an adult you realize it's not all that fantastic?

Eating what I wanted whenever I wanted. 

5. Share a quote you hope will inspire you in 2018.

"If you wait for inspiration to write you're not a writer. You're a waiter." Dan Poynter

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Paying taxes and going to the dentist. 
How I spent my Tuesday. 
Good times! 




Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 337

Here are the questions for 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. What keeps you blogging?

2. Some people like to travel in the winter months. Do you enjoy the beach in winter? According to Southern Living the best U.S. beach towns to visit this winter are-

St Simons Island (Georgia), Hilton Head (South Carolina), Bald Head Island (North Carolina), Seaside (Florida), Bay St. Louis (Mississippi), Cape San Blas (Florida), South Padre Island (Texas), Folly Beach (South Carolina), Chincoteague (Virginia), Duck Key (Florida), Nags Head (North Carolina), and Fairhope (Alabama)

Have you been to any of the towns listed (in any season)? Which on the list appeals to you most this winter? 

3. What's a song you're embarrassed to know all the lyrics to? Are you really embarrassed or do just think you should be?

4. When you were a kid what's something you thought would be fantastic as an adult, but now that you're an adult you realize it's not all that fantastic?

5. Share a quote you hope will inspire you in 2018.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Everybody Wants To Rule The World

In this week's Hodgepodge we were asked to sum up our 20's in one sentence. I found it nearly impossible to sum up a decade filled with more change than perhaps any other in my life in one measly sentence, and decided instead I would need a whole blog post. So here we are.

I mentally scrolled through the years and took inventory of what all transpired in my life between the ages of 20 and 30, and while I remember it as chock-a-block full of fun, new experiences, and a mostly light heart some of the biggest decisions of my life were also made in this decade. Those decisions included who I would marry, what sort of career I would have, when should we start a family, and where do we want to be in ten years.


Actually that last bit we probably didn't think about as intentionally as we tell our 20-somethings now to do, but if you'd asked us back then our answer would have been simple and straight forward. We wanted to be moving forward. Always moving forward. Ahead of where we are now. That was our expectation and I think it's safe to say most of our friends had similar expectations.

We wanted a house, children, meaningful work, and a thriving marriage. The way to make that happen was nose to the grindstone, work-save-throw in some fun, but definitely keep your eye on the ball with the ball being your future.  Now that might sound predictably boring but I assure you it was not. It was a million happy-hard-hilarious-humbling moments that grew us into the people we are today.

Here's my 20's in a nutshell-

Met hubs
fell head over for his devilish charm and the way he made me laugh
graduated from university
working girl
married and moved-new city
moved and married-new city and state
bought first house-new city only
preggers
bought second house
moved-another new city and state
birthed a baby who today has a baby
and surprise! moved-still another new city and state

I was looking for some pictures to include and y'all we just have so many awful pictures from those years. The people are far away and teeny tiny or out of focus and their eyes are red or closed or rolled sideways. And there's a lot of junk in the pictures. Why didn't we ever neaten up the table beside us or the floor in front of us or wait until that random stranger exited the shot?

Because we just didn't. People who took the time to do that when I was in my 20's were called professional photographers.

I worked and had three different employers in my chosen profession in my 20's but I loved this assignment best-


I was a speech pathologist in a public school setting (a preschool) and it was rewarding on so many levels. It might have been three decades ago but I still remember nearly every child from that particular school placement.

On a lighter note I wore bows in my 20's. If your 20's were the same decade as my 20's you likely wore bows too. This particular bow was not attached to the blouse either. You could buy them separately kind of like we do now with scarves, and tie them on any old blouse or top. This picture also reminded me of my love for electric rollers which I used every morning before work way back when.

Also I miss my 20-something skin. Carry on.


1985-Washington D.C. on the 4th of July. A whole lot is going on with that group behind us but maybe you didn't notice because you were distracted by the size of my glasses? It was really hot this particular day which might explain why all those boys in the backdrop have their shirts off.

My girls have seen a picture of me in this outfit and ask if I still have it because rompers are once again a thing. For the record I do not. Hubs and I had been married one whole entire complete year in this picture. I loved being married. I was never that girl who wondered if she wanted to be married or not.

Hubs and I share a birthday month and I found these two pictures taken at my mom's house the year I turned 26 and hubs turned 27. Look how excited we are to be getting a STEAMER!!



And a BBQ GRILL!!  


We're not acting either. We were genuinely thrilled because we didn't go out and buy non-essentials for ourselves in our 20's. We asked for those things for birthdays and Christmas and our families generously obliged. Many meals were cooked on that Weber grill, and it lasted nearly 20 years.

I guess I don't need to point out that tanning was a thing in my 20's. Real sun, not sunbeds or salons but still my 50-something self wishes I'd slathered on a little more SPF back in the day. I'm also loving that stereo cabinet in the background of this picture. Technology didn't move at the speed of light like it does today so adding anything new to your home technology wise was kind of a big deal. I don't remember what year my parents bought that, but I can tell in this photo it's still pretty new.

And here I am 4 months pregnant-


I was working full time and when I wasn't working I'm pretty sure I was sleeping. Hubs would say some things never change-ha! That pup lying beside me is the first dog hubs and I had as a married couple because getting a dog is mandatory in your twenties. She was abandoned as a puppy, left behind our house, so she had a few 'issues'.

You maybe can't tell from the picture but she was still figuring out how to behave indoors. AHEM. She loooved to chew things...the carpet, the arm of the sofa, the linoleum in the laundry room... yeah. Wasn't sure we were going to survive her puppy years, but of course we did and she lived and was loved to the ripe old age of 16 so well beyond our 20's.

Now here's that baby I mentioned-


People sometimes see a picture and say wow that feels like only yesterday, but when I look at this it feels like a lifetime ago. Maybe that's because baby girl has a baby of her own now or maybe it's because it really was a lifetime ago. Let's see if this next sentence makes your head spin like it did mine-

My daughter is 8 months old in this picture and I'm the age she is now. Huh???


I look so happy in this picture and I'm pretty sure it's because I was. So happy. Motherhood was everything I imagined it would be and a thousand things more. The sweet soft essence of the baby girl in this photograph is still so real and present in the grown up woman she is today. God is good like that.

My 20s were a decade of enormous growth and change, but I'm not sure I ever acknowledged that while I was actually in my 20s. I was always just doing the next thing which I think is pretty good advice for anyone struggling in any season of life. Do the next thing. In my 20's that meant finishing college, graduating, getting married, having babies, raising babies.

There is one thing that rings true in every decade of my life and it's that God always makes me ready for the 'next thing' with the 'what's now'.

In my 20's the 'what's now' was a whole lot of change. Change has most often been the medium God uses (and continues to use) to accomplish His purposes in me. I'm always resisting a little or a lot, but in the end there's a very deep sense of gratitude for the roads He's led me down.

In my 20's those roads were filled with so much new. A husband and baby for sure, but other relationships too- friends, jobs, neighbors. My 20's found me navigating new places too, and figuring out how things are done in different parts of the country. I had to extend myself often when what I really wanted was to pull the covers over my head. As a result I grew in confidence, discipline, intention, and most of all faith, which as it happened were all things I would be needing in later decades.

While I didn't take note of everything I was learning in the moment one thing that was crystal clear to me before I hit 30 was this-whatever road I'm on I am never alone. There is grace for the day and strength to be had for the asking.
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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Trending In The Hodgepodge

2018 is rolling right along and so is the Hodgepodge. If you've answered this week's questions add your link at the end of my post then go say howdy to your neighbor. And we're off...


From this Side of the Pond  

1. January is National Mentoring Month. Have you ever had a mentor? Been a mentor? How would you rate the experience?

I've never had a mentor in the form of a spoken arrangement, but certainly there have been people in my life who've poured into particular areas (parenting, my professional life, my spiritual life) so that I felt mentored. I've benefited from the input of someone older and wiser and like to think I've passed along some of what I've learned too. That being said I've never formally been a mentor. 

2. What current trend makes no sense to you?

Quite a few more serious things than what I'm going to say here, but those animal face filters people overuse on Instagram make no sense to me. I truly do not understand their appeal??? 

3. I saw a cartoon on facebook highlighting a few 'weird' things that make you happy as an adult. The list included-writing with a nice pen, having plans cancelled, freshly cleaned sheets, eating the corner brownie, cleaning the dryer lint screen, and sipping coffee in that brief time before anyone else wakes up. (Credit for the cartoon goes here) Of the 'weird' things listed which one makes you happiest? What is one more 'weird' thing you'd add to the list?

It's a tough call but I'm going with freshly laundered sheets. Definitely one of the simplest and loveliest of life's little pleasures. That early morning quiet and coffee though would rank a very close second. 

What might I add to the list? A clean kitchen, blank space on my calendar, and popcorn for dinner

4. What's the last good thing you ate?

We went to a National Championship viewing party Monday evening and there were lots of good things to eat. One of the best was a bacon wrapped stuffed jalapeƱo. So good! Hubs put it on his plate and I had just a bite or two because its January, not December if you know what I mean. 

5. Describe life in your 20's in one sentence.

I think this might become a blog post for me.  Relax! Not my answer, but later after I've considered it a bit more. One sentence is impossible but Benjamin Franklin somewhat captured it for me with this quote-

"Observe all men, thyself most."

6. Insert your own random thought here.

What a difference a day makes! We went from a couple of weeks of frigid temps, winter coats, hats and gloves to yesterday's walk around the neighborhood sans jacket.


Hubs and I even took our books (mine-Everyone Brave Is Forgiven by Chris Cleavedown to the dock and sat in the sun while it lasted. I love winter in the south! 



Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 336

Here we are again, thinking not so deeply about random hodgepodgey type 'stuff'. Answer the questions on your own blog, then skate back here tomorrow to link answers with the universe. Our warm and cozy corner of it anyway.


1. January is National Mentoring Month. Have you ever had a mentor? Been a mentor? How would you rate the experience?

2. What current trend makes no sense to you?

3. I saw a cartoon on facebook highlighting a few 'weird' things that make you happy as an adult. The list included-writing with a nice pen, having plans cancelled, freshly cleaned sheets, eating the corner brownie, cleaning the dryer lint screen, and sipping coffee in that brief time before anyone else wakes up. (Credit for the cartoon goes here) Of the 'weird' things listed which one makes you happiest? What is one more 'weird' thing you'd add to the list?

4. What's the last good thing you ate?

5. Describe life in your 20's in one sentence.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, January 8, 2018

January Kinds Of Stuff

Which is code for sort of slow and not that interesting, but y'all know I'm going to talk anyway.

Let's start by stating the obvious. It's cold here. I feel like it's cold everywhere, but this is the south and we're delicate. Ha! Not really, southerners are tough except when it comes to cold weather. I probably sound like my granny saying this, but I think my blood has gotten thinner since we moved to the Palmetto State.

On the bright side I've been wearing my favorite jacket, warm boots, and fur collar which typically don't come out of the closet here in the southland. Hubs and I bundled up Saturday for a walk because even though it was frigid the sky was bright blue and the air was crystal clear. Also we ate far too many cookies over the holidays so a walk seemed in order. I had to be talked into it, but as is nearly always the case once I was out I loved it.


I also loved lounging by the fire in my cozy bathrobe but this was nice too.

We went to the movies Saturday afternoon because hubs cannot be sitting around doing nothing for more than a day even though in my mind napping and Netflix is not 'doing nothing'. We saw The Greatest Showman and both of us really enjoyed it. There weren't many people in any of the theaters and I feel like maybe everyone is sick of Hollywood.

Or is that just me?

I did not watch a single second of The Golden Globes because I'm so weary of people behaving badly then congratulating themselves for calling attention to the fact that people are behaving badly when they are those people.

Were you here for a rant today? Sorry.

The movie was good, a musical so you do have to appreciate a musical, but I loved the soundtrack. Afterwards we had a glass of wine and a small bite to eat because we just haven't been doing big dinners this week, and then we hunkered back down in front of the fire which is where January is meant to be lived.

We went to church Sunday and while I'm on a rant, if you have a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad cough please stay home. God understands. I feel like it's a real challenge to avoid the flu this winter, but I'm trying.

Sunday evening my teacher daughter2 texted to say she wouldn't have school today. She said the forecast called for ice and all the area schools had already announced they would be closed on Monday.  I had a doctors appointment in the small big city at 9 am today so figured I'd spend the morning rescheduling.

Except not so much as a raindrop fell.

Hubs drove me since we were thinking there would be ice at some point, but instead I was in and out of the doctors office in record time, we had breakfast at a favorite little spot in town, then hubs sat and waited for me to get my nails repolished because why not? It wasn't raining ice.

Or even rain for that matter.

Hubs pointed out I mistakenly chose a crimson shade for my nails when I really should have picked red, except when it comes to nail polish I prefer crimson. Football teams are another matter. We're going to watch the game with a bunch of GA fans tonight which is fine by us since GA has always felt like Tennessee's cousin and also we never root for Bama.

I think that catches you up on our weekend, but just to be sure I glanced at the photos in my phone to see if I'd forgotten anything. Pretty sure the only thing I left out here is a picture I sent to my daughter of the shampoo bottles in my guest bathroom because she wanted to buy that same brand.

January was made for slow.