Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Hop To It-The Wednesday Hodgepodge

Welcome to the Wednesday sure to add your link before you hop around to the other players today. Also, a reminder that the Hodgepodge will be on Spring Break next Wednesday so our next HP will be Wednesday, April 10th.  

Wow.  Time just went into supersonic mode, didn't it?  Here are my answers to this week's questions-

1. What are your plans for Easter?  Are you cooking a big lunch or dinner?  Dyeing eggs?  Attending a sun rise service?  Eating too much chocolate?

Our plans for Easter are much the same as they were last Easter, and the one before that, and probably the one before that.  Holidays and tradition go together in my house and nobody likes me to mess with them too much.  

I still do baskets for my girls and I'll have them sitting in their usual spot for the girls to see when I wake them up they wake up. We'll take pictures and go to church, but not the sunrise service because it's outdoors and will be about 30 degrees at that time of day. 

Plus my girls don't do sunrise-ha!  

After church we'll enjoy lunch in the dining room on the fancy china-a green salad, baked ham, pineapple stuffing, deviled eggs, green beans with pancetta, and these cupcakes.  Daughter1 will have to catch the train back to her fair city in the early evening, so we'll just relax and maybe play some games after lunch.  

You wanted a minute by minute account, right?

2. What is something you feel too young to do?

Play bingo.  That's kind of a joke between the hubs and I because whenever we discuss retirement he always says, "I don't want to sit around and play bingo." Personally I like bingo, but I know what he means.

3. "Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs..."

Of the characteristics mentioned in the Biblical definition of love, which do you find most difficult to live out and why?

Keep no record of wrongs. 

Once words have been said they can never be unsaid. They can be forgiven, but they can't be un-heard or un-felt.  

4. What's a springtime flower you associate with your childhood?

The iris.  My mother has always had a green thumb, and when I was a young girl she used to plant a big iris bed at one corner of our yard. When they bloomed they were magnificent. 

5. Ever sung karaoke?  If so what's your go-to song?  If not, and given the opportunity, would you?

Have I ever sung karaoke? Only in the privacy of my own home. Actually it was my mom's home and you're welcome.  

I am not a singer.  

One year for Christmas my sister and brother in law bought my niece a karaoke machine. She was about 9 or 10 I think, and sadly my sister and I commandeered the microphone and sang (very, very loudly) every song on the disc that we recognized, plus a few we didn't. My niece was not happy, nor was anyone else within earshot, but my sister and I were having too much fun too care. 

6. What is something you keep in a basket?

I have a basket of snacks on a pantry shelf, and a basket of pastas on another. I also have a basket under my bathroom sink to hold lotion, hairspray and all the other bottles that magically multiply there. I have washcloths in a basket beside my tub. There's probably more...

7. When was the last time you felt foolish?

I can't recall a specific incident, but when you use as many words as I do you're gonna feel foolish now and then.  

I'm memorizing this verse at the moment-"Where words are many transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent."  Proverbs10:19

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

The A-Z blog challenge begins on Monday-ask me how many posts I've got ready to go.

How many posts do I have ready to go?

None. Zero. Zilch.

Have I at least settled on a theme?

um. eh. kinda?  

With a buildup like that I know you're dying to come back and read my entries, but come back anyway. I'm sure I'll come up with something, and it's always fun.  

On the bright side...I think my daughter1 is participating this year, and is planning to gather some of her travel memories as a theme.  

I need a trip.  

Happy Easter Hodgepodgers! 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Questions for the Wednesday Hodgepodge Vol 119

Below you'll find the questions for this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge.  Everyone is welcome to join the party...answer on your own blog, then hop over here tomorrow (that would be Wednesday) and share.

A quick item of business...the Hodgepodge will be on spring break next week, so no Hodgepodge on Wednesday, April 3rd.  My daughter will be home for a few days and I want to enjoy time away from the computer.  I will be auto posting my A-Z entries for next week (soon as I get them written-oi!), and that will be plenty.

Your regularly scheduled Hodgepodge will return on Wednesday, April 10th.  Course it's here today too so why not join the fun?
1. What are your plans for Easter? Are you cooking a big lunch or dinner?  Dyeing eggs? Attending a sun rise service?  Eating too much chocolate?

2.  What is something you feel too young to do?

3.  "Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs..."  

Of the characteristics mentioned in the biblical definition of love which do you find most difficult to live out and why?

4. What's a springtime flower you associate with your childhood?

5.  Ever sung karaoke? If so, what's your go-to song? If not and you're given the opportunity, would you?

6. What is something you keep in a basket?

7.  When was the last time you felt foolish?

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, March 25, 2013


In spite of all that delightful snow still hanging around,  Easter is coming. Punxsutawney Phil may be a liar, but the calendar is not. 

My mom put some Easter pictures in a scrapbook for me several years ago, and today seemed like a good day to discuss them.  I also pulled out some pictures of my own girls when they were about the same age I am in these photos. Their pictures were not so much in a scrapbook as an old green envelope dropped into a brown paper bag, but still...I've got 'em. I think I'll put those in a separate post though, because pictures need words and I've already got more than a few.  

My siblings will love this.

Age 5.  I'm the one in the pastel blue dress looking a little anxious, and that's my 4-year old sister beside me looking like queen of the universe.  My brother and older sister are in back.  

I loved that dress, and in a nutshell that's one of my strongest Easter memories-the clothes. Before anyone gets excited I know what Easter is all about, but still a great dress made a special day more special.  

Still does.  

Age 6.  I'm the one in pink, teehee. Many years my sister and I had matching dresses...also matching hats, purses, gloves, tights, and shoes. I don't think we minded.  

I wish I knew what was going on in the corner of the room that's making us laugh. Whatever it was, it seems my older sister and brother weren't in on it. 

Age 7. I'm wearing little white gloves as was the custom in the mid-1960's.  

When did we stop wearing gloves? I mean other than the kind we wear now in cold weather that have the fingers cut out so we can still text?

Easter dresses were almost always pastel and we always wore tights and got new 'church' shoes too. It looks like my mama rolled my hair...I remember we always had our hair washed on Saturday so it would look nice for church.  Having your hair washed in 1967 also meant you'd sit under a ginormous hair dryer for what felt like for-ev-ah to get it dry.

Age 8. Although it's not obvious from my pose, this was my absolute favorite Easter dress.

It was not pastel, but rather a bright bright orange and bright bright yellow, and best of all it had a matching bow for my hair.  Plus I loved those shoes...I called them my pilgrim shoes.

Taking a photo outside before we went to church was a family tradition. Not sure if I'm posing or sulking, but either one is possible. My mother is looking very Jackie Kennedy-esque here, isn't she?  

Age 9.
Easter coats.

Oh how I loved a new spring coat. I think it's safe to say I still have a bit of a thing for pretty coats. ahem.  I blame my mother.

I'm curious now about where this picture was taken because that doesn't look like our front porch...hmmm.  Also, there's one thing I've noticed as missing from every.single.picture- my dad.  One of these Easters he was in Vietnam, but not every one. I guess tradition also dictated he snap the outdoor photo.

Yesterday was Palm Sunday. I wore a black turtleneck, boots, and my winter coat and gloves to church. I'd love to think next weekend we'll be able to whip out the pastels, a light sweater, and maybe snap a photo outside in the spring sunshine, but we shall see.

I read something last week about why adults have a hard time explaining Easter to small children. It's hard partly because most children (rightly so) have no real grasp about the heaviness of life...the loneliness we sometimes feel and our deep seated need to find meaning and purpose.  Why forgiveness is needed on a grand scale.  Most children haven't experienced big hurts or seen the way this world damages people. These are things most of us don't learn until we grow into adulthood.

When I was a little girl my family went to church every single Sunday, but even as a child I recognized Easter Sunday was not like all the rest. New clothes, a special meal, dressing up and taking a picture beside my brother and sisters before we left for church...these small, seemingly superficial acts helped mark the day as something more than ordinary.

In those long ago springtime Sundays of my childhood, the seeds of Easter's meaning were planted.

They were watered through the years, and like tulips in a backyard garden, bloom bigger every year.  My grown up heart is well acquainted with the great gift of Easter...that gift is hope.

"...I am the resurrection and the life. 
The one who believes in me will live, even though they die." John 11:25

Friday, March 22, 2013

Spring Fever

So how's spring treatin' ya so far?  Are you sick of clicking on blogs and being greeted with yet another picture of snow falling somewhere?

Me too.  Ha!
Hey, it's mid-March which means spring is here in words and pictures.

Except we've still got snow on the ground. At one point Tuesday morning rain, snow, and ice were simultaneously falling from the sky in some sort of gigantic jumbled weather prank.

Spring is here in word only.

There was one warmish day about two weeks ago ago (and when I say warmish I mean by our standards, not by California or the Southern State standards) where I got all excited and put my hydrangea wreath on the front door.

When I look at this picture now I want to sing that old Sesame Street tune...'One of these things is not like the other, One of these things just doesn't belong...'  

Let's talk about something else...awkward I know, but there's just no graceful way to segue between random nonsense so I'm not even gonna try.

Remember St. Patrick's Day?  I always send my girls a little treat via the US mail because we have Irish roots, and also because they love getting mail.  I adapted something I'd seen on Pinterest and came up with this-

A skittle rainbow.  The 'pot of gold' on the bottom of the jar is actually Rolos.  I had all the skittles dumped into one bowl and was busy sorting by color when hubs came in. He thought this was one of the more insane organizational ideas I'd ever had, that somehow we'd be eating Skittles one color at a time. I have been known to sometimes organize small insignificant stuff by color, but rest assured this was for a gift.

The original craft was done in a cello bag and the printable on top said Happy St. Patrick's Day. I used jars because I liked the look.  Plus I was mailing them and thought the rainbow would stay together better in a jar.  Let me tell you those Skittles were packed in tight. I used most of a large bag for each jar (their dentist can thank me later), and I also changed the wording on top because I'm a little bit sappy.  My tops say-'I'm lucky to be your momma.'  

And I am.

Besides a sweet treat I always send them something 'green', and this year it was a Barnes and Noble Gift Card.  I still buy greeting cards too, because I like words on paper.  Email messages are great, but they don't provide quite the same thrill as the one that comes from opening an honest to goodness mailbox and seeing something with your name and address on it tucked inside.

Aaaand we're changing the subject again...that's why they call this Friday Fragments people...keep up!

I host a meme on my blog every Wednesday and mentioned this week that I'd sprung for some Pottery Barn pillows for one of the bedrooms.  Technically this is daughter1's bedroom when she's home, and a guest room when she's not.  Lots of commenters said 'let's see' so here you go-

Pretty pillows make the world go round.
Something like that.

My calendar is bursting with lots of fun things next week.  Numero Uno will be my girls coming home for the Easter weekend. Daughter2 will get to stay a few additional days since the county schools where she works are on break, and her grad classes are cancelled too.  I've already booked us an afternoon of mani/pedis where we'll sit side by each and likely make the poor manicurist's ears bleed with all our chatter.

The very nice couple who lived beside us in the UK will be in NYC next week, and we've made plans to meet up with them for dinner one night. They had the most beautiful garden and he grew peonies in every color and variety.

Sometimes my life in England feels so very far away.

Speaking of England...raise your hand if you think Princess Kate is adorable. I read an article where she and Wills visited the Child Bereavement Charity of which is he the patron, and it was so touching.  She seems to handle the pressure and attention foisted upon her with such grace, and I love her style. I'd also love her hair guy to call my hair gal and give her the secret to Kate's fabulous, healthy, frizz-free locks.  

In other dining and expatriate news... a co-worker of hubs (again from our UK days) will also be in NYC next week, so we're meeting up with her and her hubs one night too. They're from Italy so after dinner I'll probably want to go home and book myself a trip.

In more travel news, not as exciting as overseas, but still something to look forward to...I've booked a couple days in DC for sometime after Easter, and will be taking my mom with me.  She's never seen Daughter1's apartment or her office, and since Daughter1 and I both had something like the plague on my visit there in January we decided another trip was in order.  I'm hoping the cherry blossoms cooperate and bloom while we're in town.  Originally they were predicted to peak late March, but then March went and got all wintry so the date has been moved back to April.  Yay!

Two dinners in NYC, old friends, kids home, Easter, cherry it any wonder I've got spring fever??

Mommy's Idea
To read more Friday Fragments or to add your own link visit Half Past Kissin' Time

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Springing Into the Hodgepodge

Welcome to the first day of Spring and the wonderful Wednesday Hodgepodge.  We had about four inches of snow on Monday that continued into Tuesday, so schools were delayed, and my Tuesday morning Bible Study had to be cancelled.  Hello Spring?

No worries though...there's lots of spring in this week's questions so add your link after you've read my answers.  Here we go~

1. March 20th is the first day of she a lion or a lamb in your part of the world?

Oh she's a lion.  We've had more snowfalls in March than January and February combined.  Actually, I just made that up, but it sure feels like it so it must be close to true.  Don't tell anyone I said this, but I think spring snow is so pretty.  The air feels different, and it seems to be more of the big fluffy flake of all it doesn't stick around too long.  

2. What's the most dreaded task on your spring clean to-do list.  Do you have a 'plan of attack'?

I need to clean all my window treatments, including the Plantation Shutters which is a slat by slat sort of job.  

My plan of attack? 

It's rather old fashioned...a bucket, a sponge, and Scrubbing Bubbles.  The people who installed our shutters told me bathroom cleaner works well on them, and they were right.

3. 'em or hate 'em?  What's a favorite dish you make using peas?

I do like peas. In the UK they serve something known as mushy peas which look and taste a little bit like baby food, but I like them too.  

My mom used to make a dish called peas and pasta and we all love that. I haven't made it in quite a while, because pasta is on the list of banned substances in our house, but my girls make it every now and then.  It's shell pasta, peas, onion, garlic...yum!  

I make a lovely green salad (recipe courtesy of Nigella) that contains peas. I'll probably make this salad for Easter because it's simple to do, so pretty and spring like, and very tasty. 

Look-three paragraphs on the pea. Welcome to This Side of the Pond.  

4. Do you feel under appreciated?

The answer to that depends on the answer to whom? 

I guess there have been times I've felt under appreciated, but thankfully they've been few.

5. Have you been using Google Reader? If so, what are you switching to now that GR has announced retirement?  If not, how do you read your favorite blogs?

I liked Google Reader and followed quite a few blogs there. I don't always add blogs to my blogroll after just one visit.  I like to read several posts to know if the blog is one I want to follow, so I'd put them in my reader and visit at my leisure before deciding. In Google Reader, when a blogger updates their blog (aka adds a new post) a number appears beside their name and you know to check it out. I don't follow blogs through my email because I already get a lot of email, and prefer to keep the two separate.  

I joined Bloglovin yesterday and it was easy peasy.  They ask if you want to import your blog list from Google Reader and with one click of the button it was there. Plus, they have a mobile app that makes reading blogs on my phone or Ipad far so good.  

If you were following me in Google reader you'll find the Bloglovin link on my sidebar. Click there to add me to your list.    

6. Anne Bradstreet is credited with the following quote-

"If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant;  if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome."

Agree or disagree?  Why?

I hear a deep question and a not so deep question...first the not so deep-

I live in a part of the country that experiences all four seasons. I look forward to each one and the changing color, landscape, temperature, and even precipitation. Spring could definitely make its entrance a little earlier, but I think I appreciate it more because by the time it actually gets here I've grown tired of winter.  

Now the deep-I'm not sure we need adversity to appreciate prosperity. Oh sure, sometimes we take things for granted, but I do think it's possible to appreciate the good without experiencing the bad.  

That being said, I think when prosperity comes on the heels of adversity it's more deliberately noted and definitely appreciated.  

7.  When did you last 'spring' for something?  What was it?

Pottery Barn had all their pillows 40% off last week so I sprung for four. I do love a pretty pillow, but they're outrageous aren't they? I'm really happy with my purchase, and they add just the splash of color I was hoping for.  

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Yesterday I trekked down to the curb to collect the rubbish bin and noticed our sad little fox trekking up the hill to her den on the opposite side of the yard.  Forgive the photo quality-it was taken with my phone and the skies were gray.  

A couple of weeks ago she stalked a groundhog (unsuccessfully) in our rock wall. When I showed hubs the pictures that night he said she looked too thin and I could see the wheels were starting to turn. I'm an animal lover too, but I draw the line at feeding the neighborhood wildlife.  We had to take our bird feeder down because Gentle Ben needed to make a closer inspection of the seed from time to time.  

Today I texted hubs this picture and I know the wheels are spinning again. I have to admit she's rather pathetic looking at the moment, but still...NO.  How do I know Gentle Ben won't decide to come a-knockin' when he hears we've got grub?  Plus, we're already feeding the deer-

Not technically...they just help themselves to whatever they can find.  Normally they snack on the back hillside which is wild and not landscaped, but last weekend they had Sunday lunch right outside our sunroom window.  In the words of George Harrison...'it's been a long cold lonely winter'.  

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

If You Follow Me On Google Reader...

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

See you there!

Merry Spring Eve Hodgepodgers!

Our weather is more Christmas than Easter so that saying feels right.  Here are this week's questions for the Hodgepodge...answer on your own blog then spring back here tomorrow to share  your link.


I hear it's the first day of Spring.

Let it snow!

1. March 20th is the first day of she a lion or a lamb in your part of the world?

2. What's the most dreaded task on your spring clean to-do list?  Do you have a 'plan of attack'?

3. 'em or hate 'em?  What's a favorite dish you make using peas?

4.  Do you feel under appreciated?

5. Have you been using Google Reader?  If so, what are you switching to now that GR has announced retirement?  If not, how do you read your favorite blogs?

6. Anne Bradstreet is credited with the following quote~

"If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant;  if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome." 

Agree or Disagree?  Why?

7.  When did you last 'spring for something'?  What was it?

8.  Insert your own random thought here?

Monday, March 18, 2013

North Meets South

Hubs and I met in college on a beautiful campus in East Tennessee.  The majority of the students there hailed from nearby Tennessee towns and cities, or from some other nearby southern state, yet somehow hubs ended up with a roommate from Long Island NY and a girlfriend from the southern part of New Jersey.

Sometimes life is funny.

Hubs excels at staying in touch with all the many friends he's made throughout his years and travels, but he hadn't seen his college roommate since before we moved to the UK.  I hadn't seen him in 20 years. Friday out of the blue, hubs gave him a call at his home in Long Island and said, 'Hey-why don't you come over tomorrow (Saturday)?'  

So he did.

He brought his lovely girlfriend whom we'd never met but instantly liked, and we sat at our kitchen table laughing at old pictures and catching up.  We threw salmon, shrimp, and veggie kabobs on the grill and lingered at the table for hours as only old friends can.

We dusted off the pool table and decided to go all the way retro- aka we played albums. Yes we have a turntable and a lot of albums.

True story...when we moved to the UK the albums were boxed up and sent to storage. Our girls never paid much attention to them before the move because they had a Walkman and boom boxes and were children of the 90's.

When we moved back to the states hubs decided to set up the turntable. He searched high and low for a replacement needle, and eventually had to order one online from someplace in California.  It may have cost as much as the turntable itself back in the day, but he got the needle. We unwrapped the boxes and stepped back in time, technologically speaking I mean.

Albums tell stories, and connect you to a place in time like few things can. While I love the instantaneous availability of any song-anywhere-anytime, its not the same. There's some love lost when you crack through the packaging on a CD or buy with one click of the keyboard.

On my girls first trip to see us in our new home daughter1 spied the box of albums and it was love at first sight. She asked the hubs, and I quote...'Can I have these when you're dead?'

Uh. I guess?

On Saturday night we learned that while we could still set a needle on a forty year old vinyl with the precision of a watchmaker, we could not for the life of us figure out how to make Wii bowling appear on the flat screen. Technology. Pssht. Where are our kids when we need them???

New batteries helped.
Sometimes we make technology more complicated than it needs to be, but the musical perfection of the original Journey on a slightly scratched record album in the background did make us feel less stupid.

Time presses forward, mysteriously gaining speed with every passing year, and we drag our heels in hopes of slowing it down.  Suddenly a long ago friend is sitting in your kitchen, and for a moment you succeed.

Enough to remember the 'kids' you once were...

 ...and a future that is now, barely brushing your fingertips atop a mountain in East Tennessee.  

Friday, March 15, 2013


I'm trying something new today, and linking up with Five Minute Friday.  I need to stretch my writing muscle and making lists is just not cutting it.  Here's how it works...she gives you a prompt and you write for five minutes flat-no editing, no over-thinking, no back-tracking.

I am a big over-thinking back tracker but am gonna give it a try anyway.

Five Minute Friday

Today's prompt-REST


How ironic to be writing about rest at 1:40 am.  When I should be resting.  New mothers have something in common with menopausal women in that sleep becomes something of an obsession.

At 1:40 am my body says sleep, but my mind says now is a good time to run through a mental checklist of every little thing in the universe pinging around my brain and lying heavy on my heart.

Some are big things, but most are insignificant in the grand scheme of life...still my house has been neglected all week, and even that small thing looms large in the dark of night.

"Come to me all you who are weary and heavy burdened and  I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

Come to me.

Jesus doesn't say lie there fretting, making plans, figuring it all out by my lonesome in the wee hours of the morning... and then rest.

He says, "Come to me."

So I do.  I hand over my list.

With each tick of the imaginary pen darkness fades. Anxiety falls away leaving peace in its wake, and my fitful sleep is finally blessed rest.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Lucky You! It's Time for the Hodgepodge!

Welcome to the Wednesday Hodgepodge, lucky number 117.  
117 is a lucky number, right?  

Why not try your hand at answering the questions today...when you're through, add a link back to your answers in the linky at the bottom of my post, and then hop around to see what other lucky players had to say.  Here's my .02~

1. Do you play games of luck/chance for money? Have you ever played bingo for money?  Visited a casino?  Placed a bet on a horse? Bought a lottery ticket?

Not really.  I've been to casinos a handful of times, most recently a week ago with friends.  It was a fun day and the casino gave us 'free money' to play with, which I suppose is how people get sucked in and develop a habit. For me it was more about a day out with friends and lunch afterwards.  I mean, I'm  not tempted to sneak over there while hubs is at work or anything.  Ha.  Hi Hubs!  

Everyone knows I'm kidding, yes?

I've never played bingo for money and I've never bought a lottery ticket. The past few Octobers we've attended a  fundraiser for a local cancer hospital that revolves around a big horse race. It's always a great day out and I've written about it on my blog here, here, and here.  hmmm...two of those posts have the same title. Bother.  

2. Will you be preparing and/or dining on the traditional corned beef and cabbage meal this St. Patrick's Day?  Mashed-baked-hash browned-french fried...your favorite way to have potatoes?

I've already bought my roast and am ready to go.  It wouldn't be St. Patty's Day without corned beef and cabbage, although sadly we've pretty much cut potatoes out of our diet. Boo. Who doesn't love a potato? Every once in a while we'll have hash browns for breakfast since we like to eat at the diner and they come with your breakfast.  If they come with your breakfast you have to eat them, right? My favorite potato is mashed. 

3. What's the last thing you felt 'green with envy' over?

Probably my daughter phoning me mid snow storm on Friday to tell me it was 65 degrees and sunny in her neck of the woods.  

4. What's at the end of your rainbow?

My girls happily married with families of their own. Good health. Grandbabies.  

5. March 12th marks the anniversary of the death of Anne Frank (June 12, 1929 -March, 1945).  Anne's diary spent detailing her time spent hiding from the Nazis ranks as one of the best selling books of all time.  Besides your blog, do you keep any sort of diary or journal? Was this a habit you developed as a child or is journaling something new for you?

I've always liked to write down my thoughts, and I did try some journaling off and on during my childhood.  It wasn't a habit until after my first daughter was born. My notebooks are part record of my days, part prayer journal, and I enjoy looking back at them from time to time.  Not too long ago one of my girls was going through something confusing, and I shared with her some of the things I'd written and prayed for her through the growing up years. I think it helped both of us feel better to see how prayer is sometimes answered in ways we don't expect.

There are big gaps of time in my journals where nothing is written, followed by chunks of entries, then more gaps, more entries. Once I let myself off the hook in writing something every day, and just relaxed and wrote when I wanted, it seemed to flow better.  

6. What's an item in your home or closet that contains every color of the rainbow.

At this very moment there is an every-color-of-the-rainbow treat I made sitting on my kitchen table.  Two in fact, something cute I'm sending my girls for St. Patrick's Day.  Shhh...don't tell.   I'll post a picture next week.  

7. Write a limerick with you as the subject. You can do it!! Just remember this is a family friendly blog...don't make me get out my wooden spoon.

There once was a girl who loved words.
She wrote so that some would be heard.
On travel, mid-life
Being mother and wife
A few were considered absurd.

Or this-

There once was a mom of two daughters
She loved 'em as much as she oughter
When they were apart
It tore at her heart
Mid life sails thru tricky white waters

Hey, I never said I was a poet.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I had a million errands to run yesterday, which meant cue the rain.  It poured all day long, and I think I got in/out of my car no less than 10 times, most of them with my arms full.  

Once I got home I dug into our tax organizer. 

And maybe the Skittles.
Good times.  

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Wednesday Hodgpodge Questions-Vol 117

Lucky's time for the weekly Hodgepodge!  Answer the questions on your own blog, then 'march' back here tomorrow to link answers with the whole wide world.

Told you I was going to use that bad pun every Tuesday in March.

1. Do you play games of luck/chance for money? Have you ever played bingo for money? Visited a casino?  Placed a bet on a horse? Bought a lottery ticket?

2.  Will you be preparing and/or dining on the traditional Corned Beef and Cabbage meal this St. Patrick's Day? Mashed-baked-hash browned-french fried...your favorite way to have potatoes?

3. What's the last thing you felt 'green with envy' over?

4.  What's at the end of your rainbow?

5. March 12th marks the anniversary of the death of Anne Frank (June 12, 1929-March, 1945).  Anne's diary detailing her time spent hiding from the Nazi's during the war ranks as one of the best selling books of all time.  Besides your blog, do you keep any sort of diary or journal?  Was this a habit you developed as a child or is journaling something new for you?

6. What's an item in your home or closet that contains every color of the rainbow?

7.  Write a limerick with you as the subject.  You can do it!!  Just remember this is a family friendly blog...don't make me get out my wooden spoon.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Forward March!

It's a little bit funny how much bloggers like talking about the weather, especially this blogger, but the weather impacts our mood, our plans, and oftentimes how we view the day that is in front of us.  So let's discuss the weather, and some other stuff too, but let's start with the weather, shall we?

Last week was crazy.  The all knowing weathermen (ha!) told us we could expect to wake up to snow on Thursday morning, but nada.  Nothing. Nil.  Friday was a whole 'nother story.  We got literally a foot of snow.  It came down all ding dong day.  Our road wasn't plowed, but I ventured out to get my hair cut anyway.  I don't need to explain, do I?  I thought not.

Anyway, foot of snow Friday.
50 degrees and not a cloud in the sky on Saturday.
I'll take it!

We wanted to be out walking in all that glorious sunshine, but going to one of our favorite local trails would have meant trudging through deep snow, so we headed into the city instead.  I live in a beautiful little corner of New Jersey, where there are woods and lakes and bear, and I love all of that because I'm part country mouse.  I'm also a very large part city mouse, and New York City on a sunny Saturday makes my heart leap.

We decided to take the pup with us, and walk around Central Park for a few hours. Central Park is my dog's happy place. Her favorite thing in the world is stalking birds and squirrels, and Central Park is full of both.

They had snow over there too but not as much, and while the ground was still pretty muddy the sidewalks were clear.

We were not the only ones who decided a day in the park would be nice.  People were out in droves, biking, running, skateboarding, walking their dogs, pushing strollers, and of course simultaneously talking on their phones.  Yes, while skateboarding and running.

They were also sharing picnics on a big giant rock-

Blowing bubbles of the ginormous variety-

Painting themselves silver in an effort to entertain and make some money-

Napping while waiting on a train, bus, plane, friend?

This lady lugged her harp to Central Park-

I didn't even bring my purse.
We had important stuff to do too though... soak up the sunshine on a sunny park bench.

Technically hubs and I were soaking up the sunshine, and she kept her eye on a squirrel in the tree just behind us. This little guy drove her to distraction, taunting her mercilessly by darting in and out of that hole in the tree trunk-

She finally gave up.
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right?

Whenever we're out with our pup we meet a lot of people, because she is the sweetest, most beautiful dog in the universe. Strangers always approach us and ask a) what breed is she?, and b) is she friendly because I see her teeth? 

Yes she is super friendly, she's just in need of some doggy orthodontia, which we would never because a) I can't imagine what braces on a dog would cost, and b) her smile is part of her charm.

A family stopped to chat and told us they'd owned a Gordon for fourteen years. They agreed this breed has a wonderful disposition, and were all feeling a little nostalgic for theirs after seeing ours. They were from California and their daughter was accepting a marriage proposal as we spoke.  She had no idea her family was in town, and they were on their way to the Boat House to surprise her.  

What a gorgeous day to propose marriage. I mean just look at that sky!  I feel certain I'd love an apartment overlooking Central Park.

That one up top looks nice.

Lunch was a hotdog from a vendor cart and then more miles of walking, after which we went home for naps on the couch.

Sunshine, the city, and a snooze...the trifecta of a perfect weekend.  
Nice recovery March.  

Friday, March 8, 2013

Chillin' on a Snowy Road

Chillin' on a dirt road sounds so much better doesn't it? That phrase conjures up images of summertime fun which, with six inches of snow on the ground and more falling fast, feels a long way off this morning.

March why must you be so cruel?

Might as well grab your coffee and settle in for some Friday Fragments.

Every now and then Safari pops up with that annoying message saying it needs to unexpectedly close.  You're then given the option of reporting this to Apple or not reporting, so I'm you report?  Is there a person on the other side of my computer whose job it is to analyze said reports? I'm glad I'm not that person. I have enough trouble with this side of the computer.

Somehow I've ended up with a stack of routine doctor's appointments all happening this month. In spite of sunscreen and a hat, I have some ever so slight tan lines left over from last month's trip to Florida. I'm sure the dermatologist will scold me because that's what they do.

Then there's the eye doctor who will no doubt feel it his duty to remind me of my age. My eyes were absolutely 100% perfectly perfect until one day three years ago when I woke up to a slightly blurry world.

Aging is like a nuclear explosion. There is a lot of fallout.

Are you familiar with the Jason Aldean 'country rap' song called Dirt Road Anthem? I'm pretty sure twenty years ago nobody put the words country and rap in the same sentence, but whatever...

Jason does a good job with the song, but I have to say my daughter2 gives him a pretty good run for his money. She gets every.single.word. and is a tiny little blonde headed thing which makes it doubly fantastic.

Also? That child refers to me as Momma. Not Mother, Mom, or Mommy, but Momma. The word momma is like a windows open, soft breeze blowing, sunshiny blue sky day in my soul.  When your children grow up and move away you don't just miss their faces. You also miss the voices that go with the faces.

I took my pup to the vet yesterday and we won't even discuss how many dinero I've handed over to these people in 2013, but she's cute isn't she?

She thinks if she gets behind the wall maybe they won't see her.  

I'm supposed to be getting my haircut this morning and then having lunch out with friends to celebrate some birthdays. Those two activities together contain the makings of a great day, unless they are interrupted due to pesky snow in March.  

Having my haircut ranks right up there in my top ten list of favorite activities.  A good haircut has the potential to completely change my outlook on a day, maybe even life. (No pressure Jodie!)  

Having to cancel a haircut can also change my outlook on a day. 

Not life, just my day.  

Snow. Bother.  

We have nothing on the weekend calendar. I'd kind of like to go into the city and I'd also like the air to be somewhere around 65 degrees. Not sure either of those things will happen, but if I were betting I wouldn't put money on the latter.  Still, it's a weekend and we're empty nesters, so we can do whatever we want.  

I guess not all fallout is bad.  

To read more Friday Fragments or add your own, hop over to Half Past Kissin' Time

Mommy's Idea

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Atten-shun! Right Face! Hodgepodge!

Welcome to this week's edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge.  Add your link to the bottom of my post before you go see what the neighbors are saying.  Here are my answers-

1. My real life friends came through with another question this week so thank you real life friends.  When you've eaten in a restaurant do you complete their comment card? Do you take online surveys highlighted at the bottom of store receipts?

If a restaurant is new and looking for feedback we might fill out their comment card. If it's a place we go regularly we won't, unless there is something particularly bad or particularly outstanding.  

I don't bother with the surveys on the bottom of receipts.  I'm finding it tiresome to check out of almost any shop these days.  The receipt is a mile long even when you're buying just one item, it's also now two or three slips of paper instead of one, and then they whip out the highlighter to circle all the survey information.  

2. The (US) ban on women in combat was lifted at the end of January.  It will probably be next year before specifics are worked out but it's been reported over 200,000 front line positions will eventually open up to women.  Your thoughts?

I'm going to be initial gut reaction is eh.

I am a huge supporter of our military, and am a military brat myself.  I admire the courage, the discipline, and the willingness of our troops to protect this land we love. Women are, and have been in the military for eons filling all sorts of roles. They are pilots, medics, lawyers, programmers, strategists, military police and intelligence officers. I could go on because women can pursue pretty much anything except front line combat.  I know female soliders will probably tell me it's not all even steven opportunity wise, but its a long way from where it was even 25 years ago.   

In spite of not serving in combat there are still female soldiers killed in every war. You don't have to be on the front line to serve your country, risk your life, or be put in harm's way.    

I guess if a woman really wants to be on the front line, and can meet all of the requirements including the physical, then okay.  It's the meeting the requirements bit where things get dicey. Will the physical requirements be lessened to accommodate women who, no matter how hard they try, are just not made like men?  If so then no, I'm not in favor of it.  Men are sent to the front line whether they want to be or that where we're headed with women?  

If you're a woman and can meet the current requirements then knock yourself out. I think there are very few who can, and that is not intended, nor should it be taken as, an insult to women.  It's just the way we're made.  

3. In looking back at all the blog posts you've written, what's your favorite post title?

I could never answer a 'what's your favorite post' question because posts are meaningful for a variety of reasons.  Titles are another matter though, and I have a couple of favorites in my blog history. The one that immediately sprang to mind was this one-

Misty Water Colored Naked Barbie Memories Light the Corners of my Mind

4. What's worse-overly permissive parents or overly protective parents? Did your own parents lean toward the permissive or the protective category? If you're a parent where do you fall?

In my opinion the overly permissive parenting style causes more harm, because that one seems to negatively impact society more so than the overly protective.  

My parents were definitely not overly permissive, but I didn't feel they were overly protective either.  I'm sure there were instances of that at some point along the way, but overall they had balance.  I hope I  did as well, but we'll see if my daughter plays along and answers this one today.  

As teenagers my girls had some pretty amazing adventures all over Europe, which I think confirms I was not overly protective. I also said no to some things other parents may have said yes to (co-ed sleepovers anyone?), and to a teenager some of my 'no' answers may have felt overly protective. I say God gives us parents for a reason. 

5. Candlelight-moonlight-firelight-bright lights in the big city....which one's your favorite?

Oh dear.  I like them all, depending on mood, weather and occasion.  If I can only choose one I'm going with moonlight.  

6. Dr. Seuss's birthday was celebrated on Saturday. What's a favorite book you remember (Seuss or otherwise) from your childhood?  Did books play an important role in your growing up years?  Explain.

Definitely.  My mom was a librarian and she brought home stacks of books on a regular basis.  Then she read them to us, which is one of my most favorite childhood memories.  My younger sister and I walked home from school for lunch all through the elementary grades.  We had a full hour for lunch which seems crazy since kids today get about 20 minutes, but it was wonderful.  My mom read aloud to us while we ate and we three bonded over funny words, expressions, and the emotion a particular story evoked.  

My favorite book as a young child was called Crow Boy by Taro Yashimo.  It is the poignant tale of a poor Japanese boy called Chibi, an outcast who was made fun of all through school. It's not until the very end of the very last year of school that Chibi's special talent is revealed in his school's program.  

This story is good on so many levels. I like the way the author didn't feel the need to hit you over the head with the message.  Instead he made you feel Chibis hurt. He didn't lecture the reader on bullying, rather he made you feel ashamed of the classmates behavior. I think these types of stories resonate and stay with a child so much more than a book with the word bully in the title.  Great books lead naturally to talks about all sorts of things that we'll face in life as we grow up. It is one of the biggest benefits to reading aloud to your children, no matter their age.  

I reread Crow Boy every now and then. I love the soft illustrations, the way it can still make my heart ache, and the sweet memory of a sister across the table listening as our mother read aloud on a school day noontime break.  

If you've never read it, look for it in your library. You never outgrow a truly good 'children's book'. 

7. To quote Dr. Seuss...

"From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere." 

Share something funny you've recently read, seen, or heard.

Why is it we see and hear funny things all the time, but when someone asks us to share one, we're blank?

Here's one-Honest Toddler.  I've mentioned it here before, but it is hilarious and very clever.  

I follow on Twitter (@HonestToddler), but there's also a facebook page and a blog.  It never fails to  make me laugh.  

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Is anyone watching the History Channel's mini series-The Bible?  What do you think so far?  

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Hodgepodge Questions Vol 116

Welcome to the Wednesday Hodgepodge!  Answer the questions on your own blog, then 'march' back over here tomorrow to add your link and share answers. 

Yes, I will likely reuse that terrible pun every week this month.  Now onward to the questions...

1. My real life friends came through with another question this week so thank you real life friends. When you've eaten in a restaurant do you complete their comment card? Do you take online surveys highlighted at the bottom of store receipts?

2. The (US) ban on women in combat was lifted at the end of January. It will probably be next year before specifics are worked out, but its been reported over 200,000 front line positions will eventually open up to women.  Your thoughts?

3.  In looking back at all the blog posts you've written, what's your favorite post title?

4. What's worse-overly permissive parents or overly protective parents?  Did your own parents lean more to the permissive or the protective category?  If you're a parent where do you fall?

5.  Candlelight-moonlight-firelight-bright lights in the big city...which one's your favorite?

6. Dr. Seuss's birthday was celebrated on Saturday. What's a favorite book you remember (Seuss or otherwise) from your own childhood?  Did books play an important role in your growing up years? Explain.

7.  To quote Dr. Seuss...

"From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere." 
from One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish

Share something funny you've recently read, seen or heard.  

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, March 4, 2013

March. Grrr.

March is not my favorite month for which I mostly blame the weather. When I really stop and think about it I would say March is perhaps my least favorite month of the year, although I don't actually hate it. Hey, the days are getting longer even if it was 27 degrees when my feet hit the floor this morning. And this year March will have Easter sneaking in on her coattails, which feels wrong but makes me happy anyway. Easter should be sleeveless pastel dresses and maybe a new spring cardi. I think we all know that is an unlikely scenario for Northern NJ in the month of March.

We were not out of town this past weekend.

It seems I need to say that. When snowflakes stay on your nose and eyelashes it's hard not to wish you were still in a beach chair on Florida's Gulf Coast.  March. Grrrr.

My gourmet group met on Friday and we had a Panera Pick Two theme. Did you know there are recipes on the Panera website that aren't served in their stores?  Me neither. I made a roasted red pepper soup which was tasty, but next time I'll add a cheesy crouton or a handful of popcorn as a topper.

Hubs bought me a Cuisinart hand blender for Christmas and I am in love with this little kitchen tool.  It makes pureeing a soup so easy, and it also has a chopper attachment that is super easy to clean so I use it all the time.

Another member of the group made a chicken peanut soup and I will definitely be making that one again.  It's got a slightly different flavor than the Virginia peanut soup, but I loved it.  She gave me a container to take home, and hubs loved it too. We ate soup and salad for dinner and watched Taken2 courtesy of Red Box.  It wasn't as good as Taken, but it confirmed that if I run into trouble while traveling I want Liam Neeson nearby.

The sky spit snowflakes off and on all day Saturday so we did a few household chores and then went to the movies. We saw Quartet and we both loved it.  Maggie Smith is so fabulous in everything, but in our minds the star of the show was the magnificent English countryside. The movie takes place in a home for retired musicians, and the house used in the film is in Taplow, a little village not far from where we lived. We get ridiculously sentimental when we watch British programming.

Or hear British accents.

Or think about England.


On another note... what's up with movie theatre concessions these days?  I tell the girl I would like a small diet coke and a medium popcorn and she immediately does some sort of magic math and asks if I would like a medium coke and a large popcorn for the same price?  Why don't they just give you that instead of trying to trick you into thinking you're getting more than you pay for?  I am not a fan of the medium drinks because you need two hands to carry one, and we always share a medium popcorn, but I still found myself saying yes because it felt like I was in some sort of shell game.  It makes no sense.

Saturday night we went out to dinner with friends, and came out of the restuarant afterwards to actual snow falling and sticking. We woke up Sunday morning to snow on our driveway and hillside, although it melted before it could cause any inconvenience.  March. Grrrr.

I added a splash of Spring to the apothecary jars on my kitchen island because it felt therapeutic to do so.  I liked the finished product and asked hubs what he thought.  He said,  "Why do you have peas in a jar?" I told him I liked their spring green color, but they're actually chocolate.  Shhh....don't tell.

Last night hubs and I finally watched the season finale of Downton Abbey. It's been sitting on the DVR for weeks, but I knew we needed to be in the right frame of mind to actually sit through it.  I knew what was coming (thanks Social Media!), but still it was so so sad.  I'm glad there is a break before Season 4 begins because between the drama, and that castle in Scotland, and the green, green rolling hills and gray blue magnificent English sky we're gonna need the full six months to recover from this season.

Reading back over the weekend it seems like all we did was eat and watch movies. There was more, but that was the gist of it.

March.  Grrrr.

Friday, March 1, 2013

De Soto Knew A Good Thing When He Saw It

I'm wrapping up (I think) a recap of the little getaway we made to Tampa last weekend. Am I the only blogger out there who needs two days to write about a four day weekend? In last year's A-Z challenge I needed every bit of an entire month to blog about a two week trip.

I heart them.  

Back to Tampa...on Sunday we headed out to explore Ft. De Soto Park, also near St. Pete and about a half hour from our hotel.  There is an enormous amount of history associated with this piece of property, and you can read more of that by clicking on the link if you're interested.  

The remains of an old war fort sit on one edge of the park, and as it happened a battle re-enactment was happening as we pulled in. Once upon a time Robert E. Lee walked these parts, and before him De Soto, whom I hope we all remember from our 4th grade social studies classes.

Remember studying the explorers?  
Do 4th graders still study the explorers who made America's map?

I have to insert here it was 80 degrees and humid, so I said a quick thankful prayer I was born in the decade of sundresses and air conditioning.

Ft. De Soto Park sits on over 1000 acres containing beautiful sandy beaches and over 300 species of birds.

There's some other wildlife here too...

I'm not a wildlife expert (I just play one on my blog), but I'm pretty sure raccoons are nocturnal creatures. Hubs says they're probably tame and know the precise location of every rubbish bin in the park. Still....Shudder.  I'll take a bird over a raccoon any day.

This guy was waiting on the fisherman to bring in some lunch he could steal-

I love it when birds line up as if they're listening to a lecture.

As we started to walk out to the fishing pier the weather got very strange. A thick, heavy fog rolled in over the sea and it was a little eerie.

We knew from the sound of its horn there was an enormous cruise ship sitting out there, but you could not see it even a little bit.  I heard later they had to sit out there all night because of the fog.  Here's the pier-

Like I said-foggy.
Not so foggy we couldn't see some dolphin just below us though-

The fishermen have to be quick to reel in their catch, and its not only the dolphin they have to watch out for.  This guy?  

Way quicker than you'd imagine.

If you look closely you'll see the shadow of the dolphin he beat to the punch just beneath his wing.

Since we'd walked about a thousand miles in the park on Sunday we were able to enjoy another fabulous dessert dinner guilt-free.  That's how it works, right?  A friend of the hubs had recommended a steak house called Ocean Prime, and I know you need to see a picture of the peanut butter pie.  

It was more like a delicate peanut butter mousse topped with a bittersweet chocolate ganache and it was positively decadent.

Sigh. Even when you're at the beach Monday rolls around.  Hubs had meetings all day so I busied myself with this-

He texted a few times to be sure I wasn't bored.  
Bored?  Ha!  

My only worry was figuring out how to get back here sooner rather than later.  

"Why do we love the sea?  It is because it has some potent power to make us think things we like to think." Robert Henri