Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Hodgepodge Centennial

Whoohoo!  Volume 100!  We did it!  Go us!

I've met so many nice bloggers thru this little ole meme and I do intend to keep it going as long as I have questions to fill the space.  Thanks for playing along so faithfully each week, or whenever it fits your schedule.  It feels like a little bit of home when I check in here every Wednesday.  I love seeing the old (meant in the nicest sense of the word) familiar, and always some new names in the linky too.

I'm writing my post ahead of an impending hurricane which I hope is a non-event by Hodgepodge day.  I will do my best to get round to everyone, but much will depend on the power situation in my house.

Here are my answers to this week's questions-

1.  What creeps you out?

Quite a lot of things actually...maggots, the cartilage in canned salmon, spiders that crunch when you squish them, chewing noises, basements, certain cuts of raw chicken.  There's also a whole category of things I refer to as creepy 'like Joe Namath's knee'.  

When my sister and I were kids we saw a picture of his mangled knee in a magazine and it creeped us out.  From that day forward anytime something creeped us out in a way that couldn't quite be explained in words we'd just say, 'it's like Joe Namath's knee'.  We knew what we meant.  I've got hubs saying it now too.  

2.  What's your least favorite candy? there a candy I don't love?  I guess I'll say a Maryjane although if you put one in front of me I'd probably eat it.   That's just how I roll when it comes to candy.  Do they still make Maryjanes?  They were small chewy peanutbutter flavored squares.   

3. Are you a fan of scary movies?  What's the scariest movie you've ever seen?

Not the horror kind of scary, aka slasher movies.  I do love mysteries though and a well done mystery can be far scarier than something billed as a horror flick.  

Probably the scariest movie I ever saw was The Exorcist.  I was in college and went home with a friend for the weekend.  I was sleeping alone in what was more or less a converted attic, and she talked me into watching The Exorcist right before bed.  Big mistake.  

I'm careful about what I watch because I know myself.  I still remember seeing a movie as a young teenager called 83 Hours to Dawn...I think it was remade in the 90's, but I saw the original.  It was about a wealthy man's daughter who was kidnapped and then buried alive in a box.  He had 83 hours to find her.  That movie gave me nightmares for a long time.  

I might have one tonite just typing that.

4.  What part of life confuses you the most?

Hungry children.
Mistreated or abused children. 
Motherless children.  

All of these are hard for me to understand.      

5. Pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, poppy...your favorite seed?

Sesame.  I don't eat them plain obviously...they're tiny!  But I love their flavor and I'm a fan of sesame chicken, sesame seed bagels, and tahini which is a paste made from sesame seeds that's popular in Greek and also Middle Eastern cooking.   

6. Imagine your life ten years from today...what's changed?

I hope in ten years time I'm a mother-in-law to some sweet boys who know the girls they've chosen are 'worth far above rubies'.  

I also really hope somebody is calling me grandma.  
No pressure girls-ha!

I feel certain we'll have left the land of high taxes behind and headed south for a simpler life beside a lake somewhere.   

7.  What do you a) love most and b) like least about the Hodgepodge?

I think I answered part a in my spiel yesterday and again in my blurb up top.  

What do I like least?  

Well, there is that pressure to come up with seven new questions every.single.week.  Most weeks they just roll right off my brain and onto my blog, but every now and then I draw a blank.  I do keep a file on my computer where I drop questions that pop into my head as I'm out and about so if I'm really stuck I'll take one from there. I don't like to let that inventory drop too low.     

If you have a question you think would work in the HP by all means, send it my way.  Pronto.  

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I feel like I should insert something about the hurricane but I'm writing this on Sunday evening and cannot predict how things will look by the time this actually posts.

How about this...anyone watching The Amazing Race this season?  Who are you rooting for?  

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween, Hurricanes, and oh yeah...Hodgepodge Vol 100

It only seems appropriate that a hurricane should strike just as our Hodgepodge hits 100. Since I may very well be without power for a few days I'm writing this post a little bit early.  Rest assured, when it comes to the Wednesday Hodgepodge I'm like the post office...'Neither snow nor rain nor hurricanes nor power outages keep me from posting the questions every week'.   

I think that's how the saying goes.

We've been talking about hitting the #100 mark for several weeks now, and I've been feeling a little pressure to come up with something super creative.  Here's the thing...what I love most about the Hodgepodge is sharing the everyday ordinary of our lives.  In fact, that is the thing I love most about blogging in general.  Most of the questions asked and answered here every Wednesday offer small glimpses into our homes, refrigerators, closets, hearts, minds, and daily lives.  They are not grand in nature or scope.

In looking back over my life I have no trouble remembering the big stuff.  I write about it of course, but even if I didn't I'd still remember it.  The small stuff though, the stuff that makes up most of our everydays? I want somewhere to put that, and for me the Hodgepodge is such a place.  It's here we have the opportunity to record our personal tastes and opinions on everything from food to politics, share memories of days gone by, as well as our hopes and dreams for the future.  It's a place to write down the random little bits of life as it is lived.

Today in my little corner of the world the wind whips and the rain pelts.  We prepare as best we can and pray for the safety of everyone touched by the hurricane.  Maybe you live on the other side of the world, or just another part of the country,  and your mind is somewhere else today. Maybe you have small children and Halloween is on your mind. Wherever you are, whatever life is currently bringing your way, everyone who participates here is connected by a funny little thread called The Wednesday Hodgepodge.  And for that I'm grateful.

Here are this week's questions...Volume 100...yay us!

1. What creeps you out?

2. What's your least favorite candy?

3. Are you a fan of scary movies?  What's the scariest movie you've ever seen?

4. What part of life confuses you the most?

5. Pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, poppy...what's your favorite seed?

6. Imagine your life ten years from today...what's changed?

7.  What do you a) love the most and b) like the least about the Hodgepodge?

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Ridin' the Storm Out

Did you hear there's a storm a-brewin'?  I live in the teeny tiny state expected to take the brunt of Sandy's fury and we've spent the weekend preparing as best we can.  So, what does that mean-to prepare?

Well, different things depending where you live, but for us here's how the weekend went-

1.  Hubs hovers over the landscape crew as they frantically try to get every tree, plant, and rock in place before the rains come.

They do.  There's more to come, but everything that was delivered has been dealt with which is good. Since we're not in charge of the weather there's nothing more we can do in this regard, and the landscaper assures us they will repair what is damaged.

Or blown away.

Or floats down the street.

Speaking of damage...apparently while I was at the supermarket on Saturday the brake on their truck failed and 30,000 pounds of steel rolled unatteded down our street. Thankfully the only thing it took out was our neighbor's mailbox, but just thinking about what could have happened shaved at least  ten years off my life.  

Back to my list...

2.  Inventory the battery stock, check power status on flashlights and camping lantern, move a flashlight upstairs, pull out candles, matches, and my yoga pants.  Hey, if I'm hunkering down I wanna be comfy.

3.  Use what's in the freezer to make room for bags of ice.  Realize the pathetic lack of contents is for once, a blessing.

4.  Make your first trip to the market.  Buy bags of ice so when the power fails (and we've been assured it will) you can hopefully stretch the longevity of some foods by transitioning to a cooler.

5.  On the way home from the market think of items you will definitely need, but didn't buy.

6.  Make a second trip to the market.  Get everything on your list and thank your lucky stars you don't have to see the inside of that
circus store again anytime soon.

7.  Turn onto your street and notice text from hubs saying you might want to pick up more bottled water as he's doled out some of the stash to a landscape crew of ten.

8.  On the way back to the store, stop to fill up the car in case you need to make a quick getaway.  Getaway to where I have no idea, because according to one local forecaster, this storm is 'biblical in nature'. 

What does that even mean-'biblical in nature'?  Did people in Bible times have cars to carry them away from dangerous coasts, supermarkets where they could load up on bottled water, and emergency service personnel doing things like lowering the water in the reservoirs to minimze the damage?

There's plenty of time to contemplate this notion as you sit in a queue at the petrol station, because everyone else in town has the same checklist.  All of tinytown is filling up their vehicles, or in many instances their gas cans needed to power their generators.

Which also did not exist in biblical times.
Just sayin'.

Not trying to minimize the seriousness of our current weather predicament, just making an observation about weatherpeople and their love of a good descriptor.

9.  Back at the ranch you run the dishwasher, the vacuum, and the washing machine. Pat yourself on the back because every dish is clean, every floor is vacuumed, and every item of clothing is washed, dryed, and put away.   The upside of a hurricane if there is such a thing.

10.  Make chocolate chip cookies.
That needs no explaination, right?

11.  Take a long hot shower, wash and dry hair, and shave your legs.  No power means no hot water.

12.  No power also means no power.  Try not to think about what that means in terms of your morning coffee.

13.  Brew coffee before going to bed Sunday night so you can at least have it iced in the morning.  Not the same effect as piping hot, but still delivers a very necessary jolt of caffeine.

14.  Fill the bathtub.  If there's no power we'll have water available to flush toilets.  We've been told to plan on being housebound and without power for a full 36 hours.  We'll be needing that water.

15.  Charge all phones and ipads.  Be thankful for your stash of 'real' books.  Now you can read without running down the power on your ipad and save that juice for important stuff.

Like checking facebook and your blog.

As an aside, and because I know some of you reading are wondering, the Hodgepodge will post come rain or come shine.

I think.

I've set it to post so now its up to the internet fairies.

16.  Make certain there is enough dog food in the storage container to last thru the next few days.  Wish you were as oblivious to the impending storm as your pup, who sleeps contentedly in a comfy chair by the TV.

17.  Remove all furniture, patio heaters, potted plants, hanging baskets, and pumpkins from the front porch, driveway, and back patio.  

Actually...tell hubs to do it.  You're making your third trip to the market, remember?

18.  Call daughter1 in the suburbs of our nation's capitol and review her checklist.

19.  Make a lovely pre-storm roast chicken with sauteed spinach and maple glazed roasted butternut squash.  Appreciate a warm meal, cooked in a hot oven, eaten with the lights on.

20.   Feel grateful for refrigeration, electricity, a well stocked pantry, and a safe place to ride out life's storms...for all the things we take for granted...

...and for the things we don't.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday Fragments

I thought I'd link up with Friday Fragments today.

Because it's Friday.

And I've got some fragments.

How do y'all like the many rules of grammar and punctuation I bent in that first little blurb?  I bet some of you are twitching.

Normally that sort of thing would make me twitch too, but there are days I feel the need to make my own rules on this blog.  And sometimes a thought is better expressed in something less than a complete sentence.

And sometimes I need to begin a sentence with the word And.
My editor says its okay.

On to my Friday Fragments...

Hubs has been faithfully working out to the Insanity program and is quickly seeing results.  I figured I'd give it a try too, and now that I have there are some thoughts I need to share-
That name is no accident. 

Jillian Michaels has nothin' on Shaun T.  
For those who don't know, he's the host of Insanity.

I use the term 'host' loosely. 

Speaking of things that are insane...airline tickets.  What in the world?  I booked a flight for daughter2 for the Thanksgiving holiday and the cost was positively astronomical.  I realize flights are always higher around the holidays, but this is the most I've paid since my girls went off to uni several years ago.  I suppose the price of fuel contributes to the higher costs too, but still...its insane!  And it doesn't do a thing for your abs.  

I had an online conversation with my daughter1 yesterday that at one point was so technologically challenging, she said ever so sweetly, 'Let's just move on from that topic because I have no idea what you're talking about.'  How in the world do I have a blog?  

You may recall the weather at my house on Halloween of last year.  It looked like this-

A literal foot and a half of snow.   That's one of our large plum trees plummeting to the ground under the weight of the white stuff.  It created a huge mess, not to mention the expense.  

Word on the street is we're in for some delightful weather this Halloween too.  They're calling this one Frankenstorm and it's supposed to bring high winds and torrential rain to our neck of the woods right around Halloween.

Did I mention we're in the middle of a landscaping project and there is mega dirt involved?  Yeah. Well we are and there is. Really hoping it all stays put.  

You're invited to spill your random thoughts today here to add your link to Friday Fragments.   Enjoy your weekend!

Mommy's Idea

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Big Rock Candy Mountain

Or in our case just a big rock mountain minus the candy.

After literally months of trying to get a landscape architect to look at our stubborn side hill, and then actually get back to us with a quote, we finally got a response. You may think I'm exaggerating, but the first guy was out here at the end of July.

Seriously, it was July 31st.

I checked my calendar just to be sure it didn't feel longer than it actually was. He is fairly well known in this area and came highly recommended.  He had grand plans for our little big hill, but sadly he disappeared into the stratosphere never to be seen again.

Okay, he's still around...believe me I checked, because I was just sure he must be lying in a hospital somewhere.  He never returned a single phone call, text, or email once he left our driveway.  Super annoying.  Almost as annoying as hubs asking me if the landscaper had called-texted-emailed-sent up smoke signals with a plan and estimate.

Guy number 2 never even made it to the driveway.
He made two appointments, but never showed.

Guy number 3 came for a walk-about September 22nd and said he'd have a plan to us by the following weekend.  I think what he meant to say was he'd have a plan to us by the following month because it finally hit our inbox on October 22nd.  At least he has a sense of humor and added, "I can assure you we work much faster than we estimate." 

He wasn't kidding. They dropped a digger off last night and by 7:45 am a full crew was here tearing up  improving the hillside.

At least I hope that's what they're doing.

To be honest this is suddenly happening so fast I haven't had time to study the fine print in the signed contract and know exactly what we've agreed to.

Other than the final cost of course.
That section I read twice.

The best part about them dropping off the digger last night was we knew they were serious about turning up today.  Hubs was able to delay leaving for work at the usual crack of dawn so he could talk to them about  every single detail the big picture. 

Last night he saw that digger and tried to start a conversation with me that went like this...'so tomorrow when they show up you need to go out there and blahblahblah..."

Literally, I heard blahblahblah.
Does he know me?

The side hill has been one of those things I look at every day as I pull into the driveway.  I shake my head at the enormity of a re-do, and then do what I do best-avoid.  I pull into the garage and figure we'll sort it out one of these days.

I guess one of these days is upon us.

I suppose there are women reading here who love managing this sort of thing, but I am not one of them.  I love a job well done. You can skip the part about how it happened and just surprise me with the finished product, thank you very much.

Another big part of the job involves relocating these huge burning bushes to a spot further back from the driveway edge. Why don't builders think about these things when they put the plantings in from the start?

They best not kill my burning bushes because they're gorgeous when they 'catch fire' every fall.

I went out to take a few pictures so there will be a before and an after. I was a little late to get the before on the hill but you get the idea.  It's quite possible I was still in my pjs when they cranked up the bulldozer, but  I'm sure they'll turn this mess into something lovely. Or at least something better than the wild overgrown it was before.

Besides bear, do you know what else we have a lot of here in Northern NJ?


I'm not sure you can tell how big and steep the rock is here, but suffice it to say there was no way to cut anything down from up there without risking life and limb. We needed the professionals.

Another  big part of the project involves redoing the pillars at the end of the drive. These pillars have been making hubs crazy since we moved in here three years ago.

A few dings from the snow plow haven't helped either.

We're changing them completely and instead of stucco they'll be stone to match what we added to the back of our house last spring.

This is so interesting isn't it?
What kind of excitement is happening at your house today?
Do you have some paint drying you'd like to show me?

Share away....

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

There's No Debating It-Hodgepodge Volume 99

Welcome to the 99th edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge!  Be sure to add your link at the end of my post and then go see what some of your friends are saying.

Yes, we're all friends.

Politicians could take a lesson from us Hodgepodgers.  We don't all agree, but we do keep it friendly. Here are my answers-

1.  So, do you like beer?

eh...not really
I'm more of a champagne kind of girl.  

2. What's your least favorite repetitive task?

Emptying the dishwasher.
There's only two of us here most of the time so why is it always full?  

3.  When was the last time you rode in a bus?  Where was it headed?

I think it was Shanghai in March.  I rode the Big Bus around that enormous city all by my big girl self.  Hubs walked me to the bus stop in case translation was needed.  No he does not speak Mandarin but his pantomime is better than mine. 

 I look confused, don't I? No doubt I was, which is why I highly recommend the Big Bus tours when you're in a foreign city.  They're a great way to get the lay of the land.  

Jing'an Temple as seen from the Big Bus, Shanghai

In case you missed it here's the link to my China-Taipei-Hong Kong series.  It took up the entire month of April on my blog and is a must read-ha!   

4.  What song from your childhood or from your own children's childhood could make a parent's nerves stand on end?

The first thing that popped into my head was Barney..."I love you, you love me, we're a happy family..."

Sweet sentiment, but yowza, what an earworm!  
Is Barney still around?  Do littles still love the big purple dinosaur?

5.  The US Presidential election cycle is drawing to a close (can I get an AMEN??), and the third and final debate was held last night....what was the last thing you 'debated about'?

Monday night...should I sit and watch the rest of the debate or just grab some Tums and my ipad and hide out on the couch in the sunroom?  

6.  Can a person make too much money?  How much is too much?


Can I person spend too much money?  

Can a person earn so much they waste a lot of money?  

Can a person who makes 'too much money' also do a lot of good in this world?

7.  Pop-soda-coke-something else...what's it called where you live?

We've always called it soda...if I say I want a coke I mean I want an honest to goodness name brand COKE, not a Pepsi or just any old soft drink.  

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Speaking of  question #2....

This video puts our complaining to shame.  In a humorous way of course.
It kinda makes me smile and say ouch all at the same time...definitely food for thought-

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Questions for the Wednesday Hodgepodge Vol 99

The number 99 makes me think of that old song '99 bottles of beer on the wall'...I haven't heard it in ages, but I bet it's still annoying.  For some reason it was our go-to song on long bus trips when I was in school.  Church trips too, but then we changed the lyric to pop.  Even though we didn't call it pop in my part of the country.

I suppose you're wondering what does all this have to do with the price of tea in China?'s just that some weeks I need a jumping off point for questions, and this week 99 is it.

Here ya go-be sure to hop back here tomorrow to link answers with all the interwebs.

1.  So, do you like beer?

2.  What's your least favorite repetitive task?

3.  When was the last time you rode a bus?  Where was it headed?

4.  What song from your childhood or from your own children's childhood could make a parent's nerves stand on end?

5.  The US Presidential election cycle is drawing to a close (can I get an AMEN??), and the third and final debate was held last night...what was the last thing you 'debated about'?

6.  Can a person make too much money?  How much is too much?

7.  Pop-soda-coke-something else...what's it called where you live?

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Off to the Races

Saturday hubs and I were guests of a work colleague for the steeplechase event known as The Race at Far Hills.  This is our third time to attend and this year's running definitely gets a blue ribbon for the weather.  What a gorgeous day!

It's still fall here people, in all her multi-colored glory, which means I must mention it at least ten or a hundred times on my blog.

About 35,000 people tailgate and apparently these tickets are like gold. Race go-ers hang on to their same sites from year to year in much the same way football fans hang on to their season tickets.  It's quite an eclectic group and you see a little bit of everything amongst the masses on race day,  including Mr. and Mrs. Master of the Hunt...

a fox, because every horse event needs one...

a Scotsman watching Mr. Awesome Golf Pants play the bagpipes...he wasn't half bad...

and the occasional flying horse....

Of course.

It rained buckets here all day Friday so we had to traipse across some mud to reach the tent. Fortunately we were in what I think is the best location of the whole racecourse, a grassy hill on the end. We have a fabulous view of the entire track sans mud, plus our own restrooms that actually flush. The people on the field must stand in super long queues for the privilege of using a port a pot.

Yes, I do know I've written two full sentences discussing restrooms, but these things matter when you're outside for an entire day.

Do you see that mass of people? If you look beyond the first mass of people,  and then beyond the horses, and then to the second mass of people you'll understand.

Our hosts always do such a wonderful job with the tablescapes and the food (breakfast and lunch).  Monies raised go to support the cancer center at a nearby hospital so the betting is all in good fun.  

There are six races, but we always try to duck out before the final, because the one thing event organizers have not managed to perfect is getting the tens of thousands of attendees out of the park in a timely fashion. We learned this the hard way the first year we attended.

On the way home we decided to detour into a town not far from the race to grab dinner. Hubs and I have been craving Indian food which we ate at least once a week when we lived in England.  Alas, no Indian restaurants in our tinytown, or even the closest tinytowns, but a friend suggested we give this one a try and it was fabulous, the food and service both.

Chicken Tikka Masala and Bhindi Bhaji might not be typical race fare, but they did make for a perfect ending to a picture perfect day.

Friday, October 19, 2012

It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Ahhh, Mr. Rogers.  Raise your hand if you think America could use the soothing tones of Mr. Rogers right about now?  Sigh.

Anyway, back to my neighborhood and yesterday, because today it is a not so beautiful day...windy, gray and rainy.  But yesterday?  Yesterday was a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

Or a neighborly day in the beautywood, whichever you prefer.  

Is it obnoxious how much I talk about how pretty the autumn has been?

But y'all! the autumn! it's so pretty!

Yesterday I grabbed my camera as the pup and I headed out for our walk. It's a little challenging to take photos, and at the same time contain a dog who is on the scent of a rabbit/bird/squirrel/groundhog/chipmunk/bumble bee, but I persevered.

Photographs simply cannot do the color justice.
I snap them anyway.

I want to remember the rainbow of an October morning.


and yellow...


and green...


 and purple...

and blue...

I can walk a rainbow.
It's close enough to touch.  

That Mr. Rogers knew what he was talking about... is a beautiful day in the neighborhood.  

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Niagara-Lite, But Oh So Lovely

Yesterday I enjoyed a day hike with friends around Bushkill Falls (aka the Niagara Falls of Pennsylvania).  While these falls are not as massive as those found at the original Niagara, they still inspire a drop of the jaw.

The weather could not have been more perfect, and because it was a Wednesday morning we had the whole place practically  to ourselves. Beauty was in abundance, literally spilling up and over every rock and river  bed.  Sunlight was captured in the leafy embrace of a forest, filtered through the reds and golds of the mighty oak and the strong maple.  

How do you put into words the golden magic of an Autumn day?  Maybe you don't...maybe there are still some things in this world that are Indescribable...

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Define Hodgepodge- Vol 98

Welcome to this week's edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge. So glad you joined the sure to add your link at the bottom of my post and then go see what everyone else is saying.

Here are my answers-

1.  Noah Webster was born this week back in 1758...besides the online version, do you own a dictionary? Do you ever use the hardback edition or is your search for a definition strictly online these days?

We have a hardback Websters around here somewhere.  Actually I just spied it, stuck in the far corner of the office bookcase.  Pretty sure it hasn't seen the light of day since we moved in to this house three years ago.  In our last house the dictionary was also kept in the office and I think maybe used on occasion. Course those were the days of school projects and daughters in the house.  Sniff.  These days I'm all about the online version.  Probably because I have such a knack for technology-ha!  

2.  Should public schools ban Halloween celebrations?  What about other holiday celebrations currently under fire?

My feelings are mixed.  Muddled. Conflicted.  On the one hand classroom teachers have so much they're expected to accomplish and manage these days, and that's on top of actually teaching the core curriculum. Adding a holiday celebration to the mix might just be too much.  Speaking as a former kindergarten teacher, I do know that party days are party days, and it's hard to keep little minds focused on the task at hand when they know treats are a-waiting.   

On the other hand, golly we've become a serious bunch.
About Halloween and a lot of things.  

3. What's your favorite 'dog' movie?

Far From Home:  The Adventures of Yellow Dog 
Just typing that makes me want to reach for a box of tissues.  

4. When were you last somewhere you'd describe as 'too quiet'?

In the age of connectedness I think it's hard to find a place that's too quiet.  It seems no where in this world is free from ring tones and inane chatter.  Conversations that at one time would have been carried on in private are now broadcast for anyone within earshot in restaurants, church foyers, on crowded trains, even from the other side of a restroom stall,  which in my mind is particularly disturbing.  

I'm very comfortable in quiet. 
I like quiet.  
I think this tired 'ole world could use a little more quiet.  

That being said...sometimes my house is too quiet.  

5.  Are you a neat cook or a messy cook?  In other words, do you clean as you go or make a big mess and deal with it later?

If you read my post yesterday you already know my answer to this one.  I feel the need to state for the record here that I'm not always as bad as the photo suggests. 

If you missed it, what are you waiting for? Click here.  

6. Did you hear about Felix Baumgartner, the skydiver who broke the sound barrier via parachute.  Was your first thought COOL! or was your first thought CRAZY!  Are you adventurous?

A little of both...a crazy kind of cool. I'm fascinated by people who have this sort of guts and also slightly horrified too.  I did read that his successful jump will be of value to the space program in their efforts to improve the chances of astronauts surviving mishaps in space.  

Am I adventurous? I'd say no, but that's not entirely true.  How about this...I'm reluctantly adventurous.  

7.  What's not a word but should be?

I love the word ginormous which I think was actually added to the dictionary a few years ago.  Just goes to show if we keep using ridonkulous words Merriam Webster will eventually come around.   

Also explains why I continue to say ridonkulous. 

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Today I'm headed with friends to some nearby waterfalls.  Autumn has exploded in our little corner of the world and I expect the color to be spectacular.  I might even take some pictures.  ahem.   

In the meantime here's one I posted on facebook driveway early morning.  I love the fall! 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Questions for the Wednesday Hodgepodge-Vol 98

Here are the questions to this week's Hodgepodge..answer on your own blog then hop back here tomorrow to link answers with all your friends and neighbors.  The more the merrier!

1. Noah Webster was born this week back in 1758....besides the online version, do you own a dictionary?  Do you ever use the hardback copy or is your hunt for a definition strictly online these days?

2.  Should public schools ban Halloween celebrations?  What about other holiday celebrations currently under fire?  

3.  What's your favorite 'dog' movie?  

4.  When were you last somewhere you'd describe as 'too quiet'?

5.  Are you a neat cook or a messy cook?  In other words do you clean as you go or make a big mess and then deal with it later?

6.  Did you hear about Felix Baumgartner, the skydiver who broke the sound barrier via parachute?  Was your first thought  COOL! or was your first thought CRAZY!  Are you adventurous?

7.  What's not a word but should be?

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Apples to Apples

I've had a lovely day.  Nothing on the calendar, just a cozy day spent baking while the rain falls softly on the golden woods outside my kitchen window.

On Saturday hubs and I went apple picking with some friends who've recently relocated to our area from the UK.  The sky was a glorious shade of blue and there wasn't a cloud in site.

It was chilly, not even 50 degrees, but we dressed for the weather and enjoyed autumn in the country.

I took a lot of pictures and the men did most of the picking.  The best are always up high which requires a tool we call 'the grabber'.  Not sure if that's the proper name, but it's fitting.  Any apples the grabber couldn't grab were snagged the old fashioned way.  

When was the last time you climbed a tree?  

Besides all the picking there was also a little juggling-

and some baseball too-

or Cricket depending on your country of origin.

The surrounding mountains and scenery were beautiful. Days like this one make me thankful I live in an area that experiences all four seasons.

We picked a lot of apples.  Sometimes I get so caught up in the beauty of the outdoors that I forget I'll need to actually do something with the bushel we bring home.

On Sunday I used about a dozen making applesauce in my crockpot and will probably do another batch later this week.  Today I decided to bake,  and since I signed up to bring snack to my weekly Bible Study group tomorrow and had all these apples,  I settled on what is known as Jewish Apple Cake. I'm not sure of the origin of the name, but it is delicious. A layer of batter, a layer of apples, a layer of cinnamon-sugar, repeat and bake.  

Course, I got the oven preheated and was measuring the ingredients out and was totally in the zone when I realized I didn't have enough sugar in the house.  Does this happen to anyone besides me?  Remove apron, put on shoes, turn off the oven and zip down to the store for sugar and another bag of flour, just in case.  Too bad I didn't also pick up more vegetable oil, just in case. Oi.

I ended up substituting some of my homemade applesauce for the oil so catastrophe averted.  Or at least another trip to the store averted.  Whatever.  I re-don my apron, set the oven to preheat and finally got the cake in the oven.

While that was baking I decided to try my hand at an apple pie with a homemade crust.  I haven't made a crust from scratch in eons and it was so satisfying.  Homemaking is underrated.  As I was putting the crust together, the phone rang so I took
thirty  ten to catch up with my mom.  While we were gabbing Daughter1 phoned so I said goodbye to my mom and hello to my girl and prayed that pie crust wasn't doing anything funny mid-prep.

Hubs has some out of town travel this week and I figured it wouldn't be wise to have an entire apple pie sitting around, just asking to be eaten all by my lonesome. I put it together, triple wrapped it in saran topped with foil,  and slid it into a crock pot bag before freezing.  Other online suggestions were to use a turkey bag-you need something big.

I read the pie would be more flavorful if its frozen pre-baking but either way works.  Ask me after Thanksgiving how it tasted.  Assuming I remember to pull it out and bake it of course.

Are you a neat cook?  I am what might affectionately be called a 'hot mess' in the kitchen.  Hubs, if you're reading this look away.

How does that saying go...'a messy kitchen is the sign of a creative mind'?  I'm sure that's true, and apparently I'm a genius-ha! I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed making this mess.  I need more days like this one.  Relaxed cooking clears the cobwebs. There is room for deep thinking or no thinking if you prefer.  I even enjoyed washing the dishes and hosing down the counters.'s spic and span.
Or spic and spain as we say in our house.
Hi girls!

The only other thing this day needs is a cuppa sipped in my sun room before I have to think about dinner.

Reminds me of that other saying, 'A woman's work is never done.'
Also true.