Tuesday, July 31, 2012

101 in 1001

Ever since I saw daughter1's blog post last week with her 101 in 1001 list, I've been mulling over a list of my own. I really love the idea of living intentionally and I'll also admit that I'm a bit of a list junkie. I'm especially a fan of the notes app on my ipad and the notion that I have a never ending supply of legal pads at my fingertips.

Making my list was something of a challenge. I think if you're under 30 it might be less of a brain strain but at almost 52 I know myself well. I know what is possible, but also what is likely. If I had an unlimited bank account to go with my list then no problem, but since I don't I tried to include only those things that fall within the realm of do-able.

I hopped around to a few blog lists and noticed some bloggers have categorized their goals according to genre-home improvement, personal development, spiritual, physical, etc. Mine is more of what might kindly be referred to as 'free flowing'. If you decide to make a list of your own let me know so I can cheer you on, and more importantly, cross off #101.

In no particular order, here's my 101 in 1001~

Start date-8/1/2012
End date-4/28/2015

1. transfer our videos to DVD
2. host an English tea
3. get my hearing checked (completed 11/12/12)
4. crochet something
5. pay for a soldier's meal or coffee (does a beer count? If so, completed 12/18/13)
6. find a small table for the upstairs hall
7. read through the Bible chronologically (completed December 31, 2013-best.thing.ever.)
8. figure out Dish network on my ipad
9. make a trip back to London
10. learn to fly fish
11. volunteer to pack boxes in a packing center for Operation Christmas Child
12. visit Boston (9/27/12-9/30/12)
13. get piano tuned(10/23/12)
14. frame something for the hall bathroom (completed, 2/28/13)
15. Lose 10 pounds (completed, 1/15)
16. buy and complete Rosetta stone-French
17. take a cooking class
18. visit the Statue of Liberty with hubs
19. re-label my blog posts
20. send 36 handwritten notes
21. buy pretty monogrammed or engraved stationery (completed, 9/18/13)
22. see Niagara Falls
23. take an organized NYC walk
24. drink 8 glasses of water a day for at least one week
25. Read 6 non-fiction books (completed, 1/15/15)
26. volunteer at a soup kitchen or food pantry (monthly beginning 1/14/12)
27. get all loose photos in albums, scrapbooks, or photo boxes
28. go out west
29. perform random acts of kindness every day the week of my birthday
30. complete 3 scrapbooks
31. host a wine and cheese evening
32. paint the laundry room (autumn, 2012)
33. frame something for the back bath
34. take the Banff train
35. redo the driveway pillars (10/26/12)
36. make Christmas ornaments for the whole family (completed Christmas, 2013)
37. see a Vol game in Neyland Stadium
38. plan a birthday surprise for hubs
39. read 10 pieces of classic literature
40. have my everyday makeup professionally done
41. figure out wall over the sofa table (completed, August 2013)
42. settle on where we will retire and narrow down housing wants/needs (completed, February 2015)
43 sort out the side hill (10/26/12)
44. send at least 2 random care packages to the girls every year
45. plan a 30th anniversary trip (Portugal, 6/14)
46 see Cirque du Soleil
47. Memorize 30 verses (completed, March 2015)
48. publish something
49. sip Prosecco in Italy
50. read all the Harry Potter books
51. travel to a state I've never visited
52. make a playlist of my 100 favorite songs
53. rent canoes at Waywayanda (10/6/12)
54. attend a sorority reunion (7/26-28/13)
55. dine at Anthony Bourdain's Les Halle's
56. make homemade rolls like my grandma did for a holiday meal
57. pray weekly with my hubs
58. write a letter to someone I admire
59. take a golf lesson
60. visit the NY Botanical Gardens
61. move my blog to my own domain (first, find out what that means) (1/19/13)
62. drink frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity
63. stay in a B & B
64. see all the films on 'Roger Ebert's 102 movies you must see' list (as of Aug 1-26/102)
65. make Thai dishes learned in my UK cooking class
67. spend a girls only weekend with my sisters, daughters, and niece
68. replace dining room chandelier
69. add to my Portmerion Christmas dish collection
70. vote in the Presidential election and all eligible primaries and races (done)
71. be disciplined in my quiet time (I got there in 2013, but feel this will always remain a goal)
72. visit a state park I haven't seen (2/2013-Ft. DeSoto Park, Tampa FL)
73. walk across the Brooklyn Bridge-eat pizza at Grimaldi's under the bridge (walked bridge, 5/14)
74. take a piano lesson
75. organize and sync all my contacts, update all address books
76. attend a professional Ballet
77. visit The Cloisters
78. open, sort, repack or give away all the boxes in the basement (completed, April 2015)
79. read 2 works of Shakespeare
80. memorize the US Presidents in order
81. make an Indian curry dinner with hubs
82. give our will info to my sister in law and the kids
83. try at least one new recipe every month
84. visit Hyde Park, NY
85. notice good parenting and then anonymously buy that family dinner
86. go thru saved magazines and clip recipes-file
87. submit a travel piece to a magazine
88. compile emergency preparedness supplies
89. create a flaming dessert
90. send a care package to a soldier I don't know
91. spa day at Crystal Springs followed by dinner at Latour
92. participate in the A-Z blog challenge (04/13)
93. exercise at least 4 days/week
94. eat in a top 10 NYC restaurant
95. visit a French speaking country after completing Rosetta Stone
96. paint the back bedroom (completed, 5/1/13)
97. write our sponsored children once a month
98. find a piece of furniture for family room corner
99. scan family Christmas photo cards/letters into photo books for us/ the girls (completed, Christmas 2013 done in binder format)
100. Blog about 50 or more items on my list
101. Inspire someone to make a list of their own (8/1/12-Sherrie at Food for Thought)

Hodgepodge Questions-Vol 87

Breaking from my Olympic viewing to bring you this week's questions for the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog then hop back here tomorrow to share the love.

1. I'm joining my daughter1 in the 101 in 1001 challenge. Essentially you create a list of 101 things you hope to do or accomplish in the next 1001 days. What's one thing you'd put on your list?

2. How many remote controls do you have in your house? What's one item in your home you wish could be operated by remote control?

3. What does having it all mean to you? Is it attainable?

4. What's your favorite movie soundtrack?

5. Describe the best view you've seen from a rooftop.

6. What's your least favorite thing about summer?

7. Our weekly Hodgepodge falls on the first day of August. In ten words or less sum up your July.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, July 30, 2012

A Decathalon of Sorts

I like the idea of wrapping up my weekend thoughts by writing a post on Sunday night but that rarely happens. My brain is like a computer (Ha!), not because it's crammed full of knowledge, but because it goes into sleep mode on Sunday and doesn't really reboot until sometime after Monday morning's third cup of coffee.

For the record, it's still Sunday but I have so many swirly thoughts I feel like I will never be able to get to sleep if I don't write some of them down. Hubs is laughing now. Okay, I'm sure I can fall asleep but my brain won't feel rested tomorrow.

Hey, did y'all know the Olympics are happening right this very minute? Does anyone else feel a little glassy eyed from all the viewing? I have a few thoughts about the whole thing so here we go...

The Opening Ceremony. I loved it. I know there were mixed reviews, but in our house it was a complete hit. As soon as the show got started both my girls simultaneously texted to say they were about to cry. I think you know we lean toward sentimentality around here and hubs and I were feeling it too. Daniel Craig, Mr. Bean, and the Queen herself all made us feel a little bit homesick for life on a small island.

I love their way with words, their smart dry humor, and the obvious pride (understated of course) they feel for their history and landmarks. Top it off with a mound of glorious green countryside representing Glastonbury Tor, and my heart was swept right across the pond last Friday evening. Don't even get me started on the sweet clear voices of children singing. No matter where I am when I hear the hymn Jerusalem I get a lump in my throat.

I know there are some critics out there but let's face it, following the Beijing opening is kinda like drawing the short straw. Personally I'm glad England stayed true to herself. I have a big giant soft spot in my heart for the UK and the people who live there. I didn't get the giant creepy baby bit, but the NHS did start off as a dream and is now something of a nightmare so I'm thinking metaphor.

I'm a little disappointed in NBC's coverage of the games. Firstly-too many adverts. I know they paid an arm and a leg to get the broadcast rights, but ugh.

Also, I like live coverage. I like the excitement of watching competition as it happens, and since it's 2012 and not 1985, it's nearly impossible to keep people from hearing or seeing the results somewhere. You can't turn on your computer, car radio, or even your phone without hearing who won the gold. Leaving your house is even difficult because restaurants, malls, and shopping centers all have radio and television playing these days. It's ludicrous. If we're unable to watch live we can set our DVR or watch the replay in the evening programming or on NBC online, but let's see the events as they're happening please.

I am loving the games themselves. How can you not feel moved when you see a medal winner wipe a tear from their eye, standing atop a podium as their Anthem is played?

Imagine getting to the Olympics and missing out on Gold by 32/100 of a second. Is that even a number? I love the underwater camera and the way the swimmers seem to be genuinely happy for each other when records are broken. I actually like to swim and have decided I need a suit, cap, and abdominal muscles exactly like theirs.

Also, gymnasts have nerves of steel. Man-oh-man! So many missteps and kerplunks on the mat and that darned horse. I think the degree of difficulty is so incredibly high now we're bound to see more spills with every passing year. It's insane what these tiny girls can do on the mats and beam. They're literally airborn. I find myself holding my breath during the gymnastic events.

True story-when my brother was in high school or maybe Jr. high, he broke his arm on the horse. When I came home from school and asked how it happened he told me he'd been shot with an arrow in gym class. I believed him. I don't know why I'm sharing this little tale other than the fact that vaulting and archery are both Olympic events and that horse is scary hard.

In non-Olympic related news we did actually get out of the house for a bit on Saturday. The weather couldn't quite make up its mind but we managed a walk in a nearby park before the rains came.

The humidity was brutal but nature came with a canopy which made it not so bad. It's a good thing hubs has eyes like a hawk, otherwise I might walk right into something like this-

The hornets were at home in case you're wondering. The model boat operators were also out on Saturday which is always fun to see. These boats positively fly...

Until they don't and must then be rescued by an actual boat.

Going on the hunt always wears her out-

fyi-she didn't actually catch anything.

A new diner recently opened in tinytown and we ate lunch there before heading out to see The Dark Knight Rises.

The movie was so violent. I mean, all the more recent Batman movies have been violent, but this one is seriously dark and disturbing. Why oh why parents of children who are less than 13, would you bring your offspring to see this??? I just don't get it. I actually thought this one deserved an R rating but we're relaxing our standards, and not in a good way.

Here's something a little bit funny. We ran in CVS before the movie and I purchased exactly two small items. Here's my receipt beside a yard stick-

Whaaaaaat? That's three feet! I didn't even want or need a receipt and this one is longer than my arm. It's not just CVS...it seems like all stores want you to take online surveys, rate their employee performance, join various reward programs, etc. and the result is a receipt the size of a yardstick.

I fear this post has become Olympic in length. It's the blog version of the decathlon since I'm pretty sure I hit ten different events. If you've made it to the end you deserve a gold medal.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Proverbial Straw

Is it just me or does anyone else feel like the level of hate, division, and vitriol in America is rising at an alarming rate? Maybe it just feels that way because we are force fed the 'news' 24/7 and the average Joe has a place to weigh in via the many social media outlets. Lately America feels like a pot boiling furiously under a barely contained lid and any minute now it's going to boil over leaving a stain than can never be wiped clean.

I try to keep quiet when it comes to matters of politics, but I have grown weary of words tossed carelessly into the wind. Weary of implied sin or wrongdoing. Weary of jokes that aren't really jokes. The dialogue in America has turned into something I'm not even sure can be labeled as dialogue anymore.

As you've no doubt heard, The Henson Company (Muppets) is ending its partnership with Chick-fil-A over CEO Dan Cathy's interview statement regarding his definition of marriage (one man, one woman). Naturally others are quick to jump on the bandwagon and the mayor of Boston has said because of Mr. Cathy's 'bigotry', he'll make it hard for Chick-fil-a to acquire the necessary licenses to do business there.

Bigotry? If you don't support same sex marriage now you're a bigot?
What in the world is happening to our country?

I'm not debating the issue of same sex marriage here. I'm calling into question a person's right to hold an opinion on that subject and a myriad of other hot topics, and not be penalized, ostracized, or worst of all labeled intolerant, for holding said opinion. This is about far more than Mr. Cathy's view of same sex marriage.

I watched an online news clip where the reporter prefaced Cathy's remarks as 'controversial'. Really? Who was made dictator and given the job of labeling which viewpoints are controversial and which ones are not? It may not be her viewpoint, but America is somewhat split on this topic so controversial isn't the word I'd choose.

For the record I have many gay friends whom I dearly love. I'm also a fan of the Muppets and think a Chick-fil-A sandwich with extra pickle is one of life's little pleasures. God bless America!

The Hensons can do business (or not) with anyone they please, but let's not call names and attempt to start a public boycott. Mr. Boston mayor I'm talking to you and the Chicago politicians who are now spewing something similar. In fact the mayor of Chicago has said he will support an Alderman's recommendation they ban Chick-fil-A from opening a second store in Logan Square. Alderman Moreno has said 'Because of this man's ignorance, I will now block Chick-fil-A's request to open a restaurant in the First Ward."

Okay Mr. Alderman...so I guess you're going to make your way round to all the other folks doing business in the First Ward to be sure they toe the line, your line? Best make certain they don't hold any 'radical' views either.

The word discriminatory was also thrown in for good measure.
Nothing like taking the ball and running with it, right?

Anyone remember Joe McCarthy?

We have lost the plot.
It seems we are no longer a nation capable of rational thinking.
If you aren't left you must be right. Far far left or far far right.
There is no middle ground.

Actually there is middle ground, it's just that we've stopped looking for it. Instead we sprint like track stars to the far side of the pavement. Everyone belongs in a clearly defined slot. If you say you're a Conservative then you must believe abc. If you say you're a Liberal then you must believe xyz. Us. Them. The derogatory 'they'. The pronouns exhaust me.

I'm quite certain Ms. Henson and her company do business every day with folks who differ with her viewpoint on any number of issues. I'm sure I disagree with some of her positions but hey, that doesn't mean I can't still like the Muppets and, as an American wanting the economy to turn around, wish her company and Chick-fil-A both much success.

I think what's happening in this instance is frightening. The wonderful notion that everyone can be who they are, part of the fabric of America for eons, is disintegrating right before our eyes. Not only are we allowing it, we're helping it. What we have today is the less than wonderful notion that everyone can be who they are unless....unless your views are not in line with my views. Then we need to find you out, punish you, and do our best to besmirch your name and run you out of business.

Dear Henson Corporation, Boston Mayor, Chicago politicians, Hollywood, and America,

I'm quite certain there are currently many business owners in fair cities all across this great nation who hold opinions on any number of issues that differ from your own. Do we now start surveying the guy we buy our gas from or the produce man or our hair stylist before we patronize a business? How about their stand on abortion, illegal immigration, and legalizing marijuana? What does Mr. Cathy's viewpoint and personal opinion on same sex marriage, or anything else for that matter, have to do with the price of a chicken sandwich?

If we want to get back to a place where Americans can agree to disagree then I think it has to begin at the grass roots level. Let's start with Facebook. Let's stop posting links, posters, and cartoons that take words and twist them in order to imply something other than what the speaker intended. Let's just not go there.

It's so easy to go there.
To get a laugh, make a point, plant a seed of doubt in someone's mind.
Let's just not.

America takes one step closer to the edge of the cliff every day.
Let's dig in our heels and quit with the sweeping generalizations.
Put the breaks on hate.

Let's step away from the edge.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Games of the 86th Hodgepodge

Unlike the Summer Olympics which only occur every four years, the Hodgepodge rolls around every Wednesday. No training, sweat, or heavy lifting required either, so what are you waiting for? Come play along...

1. The Summer Olympics officially begin this Friday...will you be watching? If you could see just one event in person which one would you pick?

I love the Olympics, summer and winter, and we'll watch a lot of the coverage. If I could see one event in person I'd pick the men's swimming 400-meter Individual Medley final. Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte are expected to win gold and silver. They both want gold.

Plus their abs are easy on the eyes.
Just sayin'.

2. Do lazy days make you feel rested or unproductive?

I guess it depends on whether or not its a 'scheduled' lazy day or a day when I should be productive, but instead, have been lazy. I think we all need a lazy day now and then. We had a weekend of lazy days recently and it was bliss. That kind of lazy recharges my batteries so essentially being lazy was productive. Then there's the kind of day where my to-do list is overwhelming so I go read a book instead. That sort of lazy makes me feel icky and unproductive at the end of the day.

3. July 25 is 'officially' Threading the Needle day...can you sew? On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being not at all and 10 being Betsy Ross-like, how would you rate your skill with a needle and thread?

About a 5. I know how to sew, but haven't done much more than a hem, button, or girl scout badge in recent years. I used to be a better seamstress than I am these days, but I think sewing is like golf...if you don't practice regularly you're not going to be very good. I have a sewing machine that hasn't seen the light of day since we moved to the UK. I should open it up, dust it off, and sew something I guess. Or I might just wait until I have grandbabies.

4. Threading the Needle can also mean to walk a fine line between two things or issues (think awkward social situation). When was the last time you had to 'thread the needle', figuratively speaking?

Politics on facebook.

I really dislike political stuff on facebook. Really really. I much prefer facebook-lite and wish people would save the political maneuvering for their blogs, letters to the editor, call in radio programs, rallies and the like.

I fear I'm becoming less adept at threading the needle when it comes to politics and facebook.

5. Kidney, pinto, black, or navy-your favorite bean?

I love Kidney beans in chili, pinto beans with cornbread or beside a plate of Mexican food and black beans or navy beans in my soup. I'll say pinto beans are my favorite, but that's mostly because I love cornbread and Mexican food.

6. Have you ever hosted a garage sale? Was it more success or bust?

I co-hosted a garage sale once. I was still hauling a bin full of baby clothes out of the back of my car when I was 'accosted' by a patron. She practically climbed up into the station wagon with me. Offered me $200 bucks on the spot for the whole bin, sight unseen. SOLD.

That's kind of how I like it. I know people love garage sales, but I'm not really a fan of sorting thru other people's junk (fine antiques are another matter).

I feel like a garage sale is too much work for mostly too little reward. I prefer giving gently used clothes to Goodwill or some other charity.

7. What makes you roll your eyes?

Passing a slow or erratic driver only to note he/she is on the cell phone or reading/sending a text. Arrrrgh! You're operating a motor vehicle-pay attention!

8. Insert your own random thought here.

My daughter1 posted a fun thing on her blog this week and it's gotten me thinking...go here to read the post. I'm working on creating my own 101 in 1001 now, but it's harder than it sounds. Let me know if you're inspired to come up with a list of your own.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Hodgepodge Questions-Vol 86

Here are the questions for this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog and then hop back over here tomorrow to link answers.

1. The Summer Olympics officially begin this Friday night...will you be watching? If you could see just one event in person which one would you pick?

2.Do lazy days make you feel rested or unproductive?

3. July 25th is 'officially' Threading the Needle Day...can you sew? On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being not at all and 10 being Betsy Ross-like, how would you rate your skill with a needle and thread?

4. 'Threading the Needle' can also mean to walk a fine line between two things or issues (think awkward social situation). When was the last time you had to 'thread the needle', figuratively speaking?

5. Kidney, pinto, black, or navy...your favorite bean?

6. Have you ever hosted a garage sale? Was it more success or bust?

7. What makes you roll your eyes?

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, July 23, 2012

How to Make a July Weekend

Begin with Mexican food at your favorite local spot.

Sleep in on a blue sky Saturday morning.
Lounge with cups of coffee sipped in the comfort of your very own kitchen.

Take a trip to Loews for this and that.

Watch your hubs carefully.
Loews is a dangerous place for a middle aged man with a yard and energy.

Distract him with an ice cream cone eaten beside the lake.

Let the sunlight work its magic on the water and your soul.

Take care of simple things...laundry, weeds, mail.
Feel the temperature dip and the gentle whisper of a cool evening breeze.
Share a steak cooked to perfection on the grill.

Don't forget a side of sweet summer corn, fresh from the farmer's field.
Dine al fresco because you can.

Light a fire in the fire pit and let the music take you back a decade or three.
'...the dangerous coals of fire'.

Laugh at the boy and the memory.

Let him roast the marshmallows because he has a gift.
Just the right shade of gooey deliciousness.

Breathe in. Breathe out.
Sit under the stars and dance slow on the patio.

Open your eyes to a beautiful Sunday.
Sit on a pew and sing softly.
Pack a picnic blanket and some tuna salad.
Grab your shades and baseball cap and hop in the little red car.

Actually, climb ever so carefully into the little red car.
'Hopping in' makes the hubs frown.

Turn the music up loud and feel the wind on your face.
Smile big and ride into the countryside and the glorious day.

Sit on a mountaintop.

Be amazed.

And thankful.

For love and life and grace and hope.
For a blank July weekend in a calendar filled with busy.

This post is linked to the One Word Blog Carnival hosted by Peter Pollack.
Today's word prompt is July.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Fabulous on a Friday

What a difference a day makes...it's raining and supposedly the temps will struggle to get out of the low 70's today. The weatherman said we might even need a light sweater. Whoohoo!

Hmmm...I guess we haven't exhausted the topic of weather in blog posts and status updates.

Darlene over at Adventures of a Middle Age Mom tagged me with an award recently. Normally I don't participate but since it's a gray rainy Friday and since I haven't written a single thing of substance this week I figured why not carry on in that vein and play along.


Here's the deal-

1. Thank the blogger who gave it to you and share the link back to their blog.

Thanks Darlene!! Everyone hop over to Adventures of a Middle Age Mom and say hi. Darlene is a runner and an amazing gardener and we've met in real life a couple of times which is always fun.

2. Name 5 fabulous moments of your life.

My wedding day
Daughter1's birth-day
Daughter2's birth-day

Lunch in the House of Lords
Standing behind the clock face inside Big Ben

Those first three events are in a category of fabulosity all their own.
Just sayin'.

3. Name 5 things you love.

a hot cup of coffee first thing in the morning
the English countryside
daughters in the house

not neccessarily in that order

4. Name 5 things that you hate.

starving children
our political dialogue

5. Pass the award to 5 deserving bloggers.

eh. Sometimes I skip this part because not everyone appreciates a tag, and lots of bloggers even advertise their sites as 'award-free'. I love lots of blogs for lots of different reasons so it's hard to pick, but today I chose five that I read regularly. If I tagged you, play along or not...it's up to you.

1. Carrie at It's Not Easy Being Queen~We live the same life and are married to the same man (figuratively speaking). She is the West Coast me.

2. Judy at Just Enough Light~We'd definitely be real life friends if geography ever gave us the chance.

3. Kathy at West Family Adventures~We 'met' while she was living the life of German frau, but we also share NJ roots and the ups and downs of life with young adult daughters.

4. Susan at Stew Mama Says~we have lots in common and one day I'm going to turn up at her lake house.

5. Zoanna at A Penchant for Pens~she is funny-clever and is also a fan of the Maryland blue crab. Her blog always makes me smile.

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Sounds of Summer

We finally had a little bit of rain yesterday although it was kind of insane. At one point it hailed and we lost power. I guess the weather is an all or nothing proposition this summer.

Actually, the hail looked a little bit like snow which helped me remember why I love the summer.

Have we exhausted the subject of weather in blog posts and status updates yet?

Since it's too hot to think very hard I'm going with a list today and linking it with Thursday Thirteen. For your reading pleasure....the sounds of summer when I was a kid~

1. The Good Humor ice cream truck
2. the song of the whippoorwill
3. the sprinkler on a hot summer day
4. the sound of a shoe 'kicking the can'
5. a needle hitting a record
6. the warm summer wind in my ear as I rode my bike down a hill
7. lawnmowers on Saturday morning
8. a pool splash
10. a jump rope hitting the pavement
11. the creak of a swing set chain
12. the ringing of a telephone
13. olly olly oxen free!

What are the sounds of your childhood summers?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Gold Medal Hodgepodge Volume 85

Welcome to the weekly Wednesday Hodgepodge...answer the questions on your own blog then add your link to the bottom of my post. The more the merrier!

1. The summer Olympics begin next week and London is playing host. If you had the chance to go in person what (non-Olympic) London site would you most like to visit?

I think we all know I'm not going to be able to answer this question.

If I can only choose one thing I'm going to Marks and Spencers by way of Covent Garden. I'll browse the shops then pick up a picnic lunch and head over to Green Park. I'll sit on one of the chairs they let you rent there and I'll slip off my shoes and admire Buckingham Palace peeking thru the trees.

I'll hear that lovely British accent all around me while I eat crisps with my cheese and 'pickle' sandwich followed by a biscuit and a cuppa.

And the sun will shine.
And I'll feel lucky.

2. What is something in your life right now that feels like an Olympic event?

Answering that first question?

Okay, I guess I'll say figuring out where we want to settle when we retire and all the logistics involved in making that happen including the financial piece of the puzzle. It's still a few years away but not that many years away, and we like to have a plan.

The only thing we know for certain is that we will not retire in NJ.
One word...T-A-X-E-S

3. What's your favorite supper to prepare and serve when it's too hot to cook?

Cold chicken salad. If I don't have leftover chicken and don't want to turn on the oven I buy a rotisserie chicken from the market and use that. I add sliced almonds, sliced green grapes, chopped cooked egg white, and chopped celery combined with a little mayonnaise. I like this meal even when its not too hot to cook.

4. July 18th is National Get Out of the Doghouse Day...when was the last time you were 'in the doghouse?'

I honestly can't remember. I associate that phrase with 'in trouble' like forgetting to pay the electric bill or dinging the car or losing some important document. I don't think I've done anything recently that would land me in the doghouse.

5. What television commercial do you find particularly irritating or inappropriate? You may not answer with 'all of them'. I know some of you were thinking about it.

This one. The Vlasic pickle commercial where the guy eats a pickle at a funeral. I think it's in extremely poor taste.

6. Share one interesting piece of news from the year you were born.

The Summer Olympics were held in Rome the year I was born. Rome had originally been set to host the games in 1908, but Mt. Vesuvius erupted in 1906 so they were forced to pass the games on to another city, and coincidentally that city was London. Rome finally got its turn the year I was born-1960.

In other big news, JFK was elected President.

So essentially it was Presidential election politics and the Summer games. Kinda like now only with less advertising, pundits, and over the top media coverage.

7. What's the best part of your average day?

I love the early morning. The quiet, my coffee, and figuring out what the day holds.

Anytime of day my girls phone home.

I still love to hear the garage door going up signaling hubs home from the office.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

There is nothing on our calendar this weekend.
Other than napping I mean.

Some people would find that depressing.
We are not those people.

We haven't had a blank page on our weekend calendar since May 19th.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Questions for the Hodgepodge Vol. 85

Here are the questions to this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer the questions on your own blog then hop back over here tomorrow and link up with the wide wide world.

1. The Summer Olympics begin next week and London is playing host. If you had the chance to go in person which (non-Olympic) London site would you most like to visit?

2. What is something in your life right now that feels like an Olympic event?

3. What's your favorite supper to prepare and serve when it's too hot to cook?

4. July 18th is National Get Out of the Doghouse Day...when was the last time you were 'in the doghouse'?

5. What television advertisement do you find particularly irritating or inappropriate? You may not answer with 'all of them'. I know some of you were thinking about it.

6. Share one piece of interesting news from the year you were born.

7. What's the best part of your average day?

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Pickin' and Grinnin'

It's never a good thing to wake up on a Monday morning thinking, "We just need to make it til Friday and then we can catch up." We. are. tired. When you're us, weekends away are rarely quiet and this one was no exception.

Our plan was to leisurely make our way down to Maryland on Friday, arriving in plenty of time to collect daughter2 from the Baltimore airport. Hubs however, received an email on Thursday night that needed to be dealt with, from his office, so we sidetracked around that way before heading out. It seems like nothing around here moves from Point A to Point B. There are always points J-Q-X stuck in there somewhere needing to be worked around.

I digress. We did manage to get to the airport about an hour before daughter 2's flight arrived, and as is also typical for us, a very good friend we've known for over 20 years happened to be waiting on a flight in the Baltimore airport. He doesn't live in Maryland but was in town for a meeting so we had fun chatting while he waited for his own flight to board and we waited for our baby.

Our baby who is almost 22 but is still our baby.

Daughter2 exited the arrival gate and does anyone else with adult children know what I mean when I say my heart does a little flippy dance when I see her walking towards me? It does. A mom was waiting beside us with an infant and a toddler, and the toddler went running into her Daddy's arms when he came thru the gate.

Not so very long ago I was that mom and hubs was that dad.
Now we're on this side of the gate and a fully grown adult child is walking out to meet us.

I think I just heard Joni Mitchell singing in my head.

Back to the present...we were spending Friday night with friends in Annapolis and daughter1 was meeting us there after work. Once she arrived we jumped back in the car to meet our old across-the-street neighbors at a local pizza restaurant.

My girls had not seen these kids in several years, but the five of them essentially spent all their elementary school years in our yard or theirs. They are the chalk house, Little Tyke car, swinging, biking, kickball playing, snowman building, waiting for the bus kind of friends.

And they are all grown up.
It happened when we weren't looking.

Daughter2 hadn't been in Maryland except to drive thru in almost 5 years and her one request was for crabs. Our timetable was kinda tight but since she has gone from graduation to working long hours while simultaneously attending grad school, she hasn't had much down time this summer. We were gonna get her those crabs!

A friend of hers from high school in England is living in the Baltimore area so we invited him to meet us for lunch Saturday at the absolute best place in the whole world to get crabs -Cantler's Riverside Inn which sits on Mill Creek near Annapolis.

I'm not kidding...best in the world.
You should know too, that eating crabs is serious business.

After lunch we zipped over to wedding-ville to check into our hotel and grab long showers. Crab lunch + evening wedding=serious showers. Just sayin'.

The beautiful bride and her family are very special friends...

She and daughter1 met in 2nd grade and our families connected right off the bat and have stayed connected all these many years later. Other old special friends were also in attendance so it was a fun, fun night.

And you know when I say 'old' I mean long-time, not really old, right?
Here we are picking the mother of the bride's brain-

It's important stuff for moms who have daughters of their own, ya know!

Daughter1 and the bride's mom are kindred spirits. They share the crafty gene and a love of JoAnn Fabrics.

When hubs and I married all weddings were mostly alike. A somewhat traditional service and a predictable reception. Even the invitations were somewhat standard with only slight variations in font and design. Weddings are so much fun now, each one a little bit different and careful attention is given to the small details and personal touches.

The father's toast which came on the heels of the father daughter dance just about sends my hubs right over the edge.

The bride was absolutely stunning and beaming from ear to ear. The newlyweds enjoyed their special day and we all chatted and dined and danced the night away.

My girls were thrilled to have a weekend together. They are thick as thieves and miss living in the same town.

Makes my own heart so happy to see them standing side by side.
They are just too adorable for words.

Here we have the Spice Girls reunited...you'll have to click on the link to get the back story but suffice it to say, this was as close to a 'pose' as I could get.

This 'boy' went to elementary school with daughter2 and she hadn't seen him in over 10 years. When you move a lot and go back to visit your past, time does funny things. I remember him getting into mischief in the 2nd grade. Now he wears a tie and is going to work for an investment firm.


Sunday morning dawned too early. Literally. Daughter2 had to be deposited at the airport at 8:45 am which meant getting up and out of the hotel almost as soon as our heads had hit the pillows. It was another 'drive by weekend' with our girls but we take what we can get.

I will say though, I think we have mastered the art of packing a whole lot of life into less than 48 hours.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Looking Through the Eyes of Love

Since it's Thursday and I'm attending a wedding this weekend I thought it would be fun to link up with Thursday Thirteen and list thirteen things I remember about my own wedding day.

1. My girls used to love looking at my wedding album. I think they still do. Fun fact-my photographer was just starting out back when I was planning my wedding. I had seen a picture he'd snapped somewhere and took a chance. He was working out of his garage when I met him and the summer after my wedding he put my album on display in a big bridal show in Knoxville. These days he is one of the most sought after photographers in the Knoxville and surrounding area and needs to be booked months in advance.

Needless to say, he is not working out of his garage a.ny.more.

2. We were married on June 16th, 1984. It was one of the hottest days on record. I wonder if that's when my obsession with the weather began?

3. Although I was from New Jersey we got married at hub's church in Tennessee. We were both living there at the time and most of our friends were in the area or within easy driving distance. The pastor of my church in NJ helped officiate which was special.

4. The morning of the ceremony hubs went to breakfast with his parents and then started to drive off with his shoes on top of the car. Not much makes him nervous but I guess he was feeling it a little that day.

5. I had six bridesmaids plus my maid of honor...my two sisters and hubs sister, along with four of my college besties.

They wore long PEACH gowns. Peach was a soft quiet color back in 1984 but it kinda shouts today. Oh the 80's loved her pastels and big puffy sleeves, didn't she? My own dress had big puffy sleeves too.

My wedding dress was professionally boxed up after the ceremony and has been moving around the country and even across the pond with us for the past 28 years. When my girls are ready to marry I'm going to open it up and see how it looks. I've told them they can cut it up or have it remade or use the veil or just try it on if they want. They will definitely want to try it on. They still like nothing better than playing 'dress up'.

Oh, and my mom's dress was gorgeous. She did not wear big puffy sleeves.

6. Hubs dad was his best man and he had six groomsmen/ushers. His two brothers, my brother, and three of his college besties. Except they didn't refer to one another as besties.

Even though they were.

7. I had been to a wedding show in a lovely little home store in the town where my inlaws lived and that's where I saw 'my bouquet'. It was made up of big white orchids and so different from anything else I'd seen.

I knew right away that was what I wanted and my attendants carried smaller versions. I still think they're beautiful.

8. A friend of my sister's sang at our wedding. She had the most amazing voice. In keeping with our color scheme she wore a peach and white sundress.

Sometimes I miss you 1984.

She sang three songs-The Wedding Song by Paul Stookey, Looking Through the Eyes of Love which was aka the theme from Ice Castles (don't laugh-it was the 80's and it's still a pretty song) and then a song called Together , written by Roger Strader. I have looked and looked for that song recorded somewhere online but I can't find it anywhere. The lyrics were absolutely perfect.

9. I did not walk down the aisle to Here Comes the Bride. Shocking! I walked to Trumpet Voluntary in D Major by Henry Purcell. That's the same music Princess Diana used but that isn't why I chose it. I chose it because it's beautiful. As we were about to take our first step down the aisle my dad looked at me and said, " Are you ready?", and all of a sudden my stomach started doing flip flops.

This picture makes me miss my dad. I look like I'm about to burst into tears here but I pulled it together for the walk.

10. Hubs would say this list isn't complete without me mentioning the fact that I forgot to blow out the candle on my side when we lit the unity candle. I was feeling a little giddy at that point.

11. This is one of my favorite pictures from the day-

...my sister and I peeking around the corner into the sanctuary for a look at the groom.

12. Our reception was in a hotel ballroom and was mostly finger foods, heavy hors d'oeuvres, and cake.

Which I evidently enjoyed very much.

We had flowers atop our cake, in keeping with the peach theme of course, and we did NOT shove the cake at each other. I made it clear beforehand that I really dislike that behaviour.

13. A toast was made and we were served our champagne in beautiful silver goblets. For some reason we thought they were ours to keep, maybe a wedding gift from someone, so we took them home with us. The hotel phoned later asking for them to be returned. Ooops.

And we lived mostly happily ever after.
The End.