Wednesday, July 31, 2013

An Inspirational Hodgepodge

I think I've been away more than I've been home this summer, as evidenced by my blog. That's what summertime's for though, right?  Here are my answers to this week's questions...add your link and join the party!


1. Share one way you think the world has changed for the better since you were a kid?

In spite of all the negatives associated with it, I do think the Internet is a pretty amazing thing. 

2. How 'bout one way it's changed for the worse?

Well for starters, I think we've lost our common sense. The media is ridiculous, fear has invaded every corner of our culture to the point that everyone we encounter is now suspect, and we have to monitor our every word lest we offend someone. 

Oh wait, the question asked for 'one'.  Y'all know I never can do that. 

3. Starlight, starfish, starling, Starbucks...your favorite 'star'?

Starlight. Who doesn't love a sky full of stars?   

4. Name a song that's overplayed, but you love it anyway?

See You Again by Carrie Underwood...such a pretty song, but wow they play it a lot. Millions of wonderful songs out there in the universe, but we always seem to hear the same few. I love this one anyway.

5. When did you last have home made ice cream? Your latest favorite flavor?

Our local ice cream place makes their own, so does that count?  

Yes, it counts.  

They make a black raspberry chocolate chip that is completely delicious.  

6. What do you think is the best way to inspire or motivate people?

I think people are motivated by optimism. We all want to feel valued and respected, not belittled or taken for granted.  Words of encouragement, legitimate praise, and when needed, gently stated constructive criticism...these things all go a long way towards motivating people to complete a task or to do a good job.  People want to feel appreciated and I think when we feel appreciated we're motivated to keep going, to do more or better.  

As far as inspiration goes, I'm always inspired by leaders who are also do-ers. The ones willing to work hard and get their own hands dirty in order to meet a goal, who don't feel that any job is beneath them.  I'm inspired by people who are open and honest about their own failures and how they overcame them.   

7.  When was the last time you were without power?

I flew down to my daughter's last Thursday and arrived just in time for dinner. She requested PF Changs, and just as we were finishing up a nasty storm came out of nowhere. So thankful I was on the ground and not still in the air!!  Anyway, lightning struck a transformer and the power was out for several hours.  My daughter did a great job navigating a very busy road without any working traffic lights, and we made it safely back to her very dark apartment. So glad I was there and she wasn't alone! I think she was glad too.  

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Speaking of motivation, I love a great quote...

"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions.  Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great."  Mark Twain




Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Hodgepodge Questions-Vol 135

I've been out of town for a few days, so I'm a little late posting this week's questions. Better late than never, right? Answer on your own blog, then hop back here tomorrow to add your link to the party.  Here ya go-


1. Share one way you think the world has changed for the better since you were a kid?

2. How 'bout one way it's changed for the worse?

3. Starlight, starfish, starling, Starbucks...your favorite 'star'?

4. Name a song that's overplayed, but you love it anyway.

5. When did you last have home made ice cream? Your latest favorite flavor?

6. What do you think is the best way to inspire or motivate people?

7. When was the last time you were without power?

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Royal Hodgepodge

Welcome to this week's edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge! So glad you joined the fun today...add your link at the end of my post and let's get this party started-

 

1. July 24th is Amelia Earhart Day.  Earhart was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.  What's something you've recently accomplished solo?

My husband travels a lot so I do many things solo that I'd gladly have him do if he were home. I recently had to kill a ginormous insect. I don't even know what it was, but I'm pretty sure it was something alien. Shudder.

2. What's a product you use that never ever fails?

Sharpie permanent markers, Dramamine, and Clinique quickliner.

3. Have you found your place in this world?  Where is it?

I think so. It's in a land called contentment. I think when we're young we try to imagine how our life will go, and then we live it and it's rarely exactly as we had planned.  I know mine has been full of surprises and unexpected turns...experiences that went beyond my wildest dreams. 

One thing moving around a lot has reinforced for me, is the fact that this earth is not my home. I think the key to finding my place here has been in learning to embrace where I am and the people and opportunities God has brought into my life.  I don't always succeed, and of course there are still things I hope to accomplish, but I do believe contentment with where you are and what you have now, even if it is not what you wanted or planned, is the secret of life.  

4. Worst movie you ever saw?

I'm sure there are a few, but one that popped into my head right off the bat is Broken Arrow.  The film was released in the mid-90's, and while I do like John Travolta and Christian Slater, the writing and acting in this one were truly awful.  At one point a character in the movie actually shouts at a person intent on world destruction, 'Halt! I'm a Park Ranger!'.  Occasionally, when the mood in our house needs lightening, hubs and I have been known to throw that line out there and it always makes us laugh.  I guess the movie wasn't a total bust.

5. What's the last fun thing you did?

Picked crabs while sitting beside the water in Annapolis.  
I wrote about it on my blog here.

6. The month of July is named for Roman emperor Julius Caesar...ever been to Rome?  What's your favorite Italian dish?

Rome is one of my favorite cities in the world. I will refrain from blabbing on and on again about Italy, except to say I would not be opposed to a trip back there one day soon.

My favorite Italian dish? Oh mio! How in the world do I choose just one? Pizza margherita, chicken piccata, veal saltimbocca, gelato, and limoncello to name a few. 

7. What is one piece of advice you'd give new mom Kate Middleton?

Trust your instincts.  

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I am in love with the hydrangea bush beside my front walkway.


It has every shade of blue, pink, and purple in it, sometimes all in the same flower.


It is absolutely gorgeous this year!



Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Hodgepodge Questions-Vol 134

Here are the questions to this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge.  Answer on your own blog, then hop back here tomorrow to share answers-


1. July 24th is Amelia Earhart Day.  Earhart was the first female to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.  What's something you've recently accomplished solo?

2.  What's one product you use that never ever fails?

3. Have you found your place in the world? Where is it?

4.  Worst movie you ever saw?

5. What's the last fun thing you did?

6. The month of July is named for Roman Emperor Julius Caesar...ever been to Rome? What's your favorite Italian dish?

7. What is one piece of advice you'd offer new mom Kate Middleton?

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Crab Town

Daughter1's boyfriend is in the DC area for the month of July, and she really wanted us to meet him. We had exactly one weekend with a window just wide enough to squeeze through, so Saturday was the day.

In the meantime hubs had a work trip to Canada added to his calendar, but not a problem because he was still supposed to arrive home Friday evening. The plan was I would pick him up at the airport and then we'd drive down to my moms in South Jersey to spend the night. Our pup was going to hang out with Mema while we drove a little further south to meet our girl in Annapolis on Saturday around noon.  That was the plan.  

You know what they say about plans, don't you?  

Friday afternoon hubs phoned about 4 pm to let me know he'd finished his meeting, and had arrived at the Toronto airport. He said his flight was already delayed, and he'd keep me posted. At 11:30 PM they finally cancelled his flight. Like I said, no biggie...just seven hours wiled away in an airport on a Friday night.  Bother.

We could salvage the weekend though, because they put him on another flight arriving in Newark at 8 am Saturday morning. We figured we could still drop the dog at my mom's house and be in Annapolis about noon as originally planned. 

There's that word again-plan.

He phoned again at 1:15 am to say the Saturday morning Newark flight was also now cancelled, and he'd gotten on a flight to Dulles (D.C.) arriving at 7:30 Saturday morning, and could I please let daughter1 know she'd need to trek to Dulles to collect him. 

For every wonderfully uneventful, somewhat exotic flight he takes, there are ten trips in between that go like this. Its why the frequent business travelers deserve their upgrades and airline rewards. 

Hubs is a trooper though, so he went to bed at 2, got up at 4:00, and arrived fresh as a daisy in DC at 7:30 am on Saturday.  I drove to my moms, said hello and goodbye, left the dog in her favorite spot, and trekked on to Annapolis to meet up with everyone.   


We were finally all in the same place at the same time around 1. That's the Maryland capitol building in the background, and please just ignore the guy in green trying to untether his boat from the dock. We strolled down to the waterfront before deciding what we really needed was a serious blast of air conditioning. Holy moly it was hot! Too hot to be walking around town, but not too hot for some of our favorite mussels and the world's best crab dip. 


I challenge anyone to prove me wrong on that last point. When we lived in Annapolis and ate in this little spot, Daughter2 would order the crab dip as her entree. That bread is just the right degree of warm.

We sat and chatted until we felt like we could brave the heat again, and then walked over to the US Naval Academy to look around.  Daughter1's boyfriend is an Army guy, so I had to convince him he needed to stand under the Navy sign for this picture.


We looked at some of the indoor exhibits because the walk over about killed us.
Did I mention the heat?


The grounds are so pretty, but I didn't take a lot of photos...it was just too hot to fool with my camera.  I did snap a couple of the gorgeous chapel, and we did go down in the crypt to see where John Paul Jones is buried because it's interesting, and also because it's air conditioned.

As it happened a newly married couple and their wedding party were coming out of the chapel as we approached.
 

I could not imagine being in a dress uniform or a bridal gown in the crazy heat, but I have to say the bride was beaming.  I love that he's carrying her dress, and she didn't seem to notice the temperature at all. So pretty!

Speaking of pretty~


We felt it was our duty to introduce the boyfriend to the fine art of picking a Maryland blue crab. Course when they're steamed they're no longer blue, but instead turn a delectable shade of pink with a hefty sprinkling of Old Bay Seasoning on top.


This place is always booming. We got there late afternoon, and the temp had dropped maybe an eighth of a degree so we sat outside (under the awning where the ceiling fans whirred) and enjoyed a long leisurely lunch/dinner beside the water.

Picking crabs beside the water makes my list of top five favorite life experiences. You should try it, but definitely go with someone who knows crabs...we always smile at the people who come in asking for bibs and a fork.

You know what I'm gonna say next don't you?  The day went too fast. That's what I always say whenever I have time with one or both of my girls.  And in spite of the heat, and the hoops we had to jump through to make it happen, we had a great day together...


 We always do. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Award Winning Thursday Fragments

I'm afraid that title may have raised your expectations beyond what is reasonable, but I'm going with it anyway.  Last week Julia over at Mom on the Run gave me a blog award, and I know I said I don't do awards, but when someone gives me one I can't not play along. Thank you Julia!


I'm only going to cheat a little.

I'm supposed to share ten things about myself, and I have to wonder if there are ten things I haven't already told you? Back in the early days of my blog I did one of those '100 things about me' posts. It's in my sidebar under Inquiring Minds Want to Know if you're an inquiring mind and want to know. I reread it and it's still accurate, except I've now been married for 29 years. Same guy.

I started this post this morning, and then the Internet shut down thanks to the cable company working on our street.  I didn't get back to it until late in the afternoon, at which point I somehow accidentally deleted everything above #9. Aaacckk! I'm thinking now I'll go ahead and link this with the Friday Fragment hop too because it's practically Friday, and this is definitely fragments. Here we go-

1. I love random fragments. My favorite blog posts to read are the ones where the writer shares snippets of an ordinary day. I think those posts connect us more than some of the deeper stuff that's written every day.

2. Pinterest makes me happy.

3. So does Instagram.

4.  I rarely ever rant on my blog. I want to, but I don't.

I will just say New York! Seriously?  Eliot Spitzer and Anthony Weiner? In a city of more than 8 million people, this is who the citizens want to hold up as leaders? I wish we cared more.

5.  Sometimes when I cannot handle any more political smarminess I go to YouTube and watch Susan Boyle's audition on Britain's Got Talent. That video clip still makes me smile.  Does anyone not skip the ads on YouTube when given the option?

6.  I love anything in a little blue box tied with a white bow.


Hubs had some sort of work thing yesterday that is too much to explain here, but suffice it to say involved several events, including playing the piano in the floor of FAO Schwartz, the one made famous in the movie BIG, as well as instruction in how to tie a proper Tiffany bow, and some other stuff which I didn't pay attention to because he lost me at Tiffanys.


He couldn't bring the box home empty now, could he?

7.  I've been reading more and computering less this summer. When I say reading I mean actual books as opposed to my electronic reader.

Yes I know e-readers are actual books, but they're not book books. I appreciate the convenience of an e-reader, especially when traveling, but I realized recently that I miss holding an honest to goodness hard cover book in my hand. I still like to turn actual pages, and then let the book fall to the floor when I doze off. Can't do that with an Ipad.

Well you can, but you'd be sorry.

8. It doesn't feel like it's really summer until I've had my favorite food in all the world-Maryland Blue Crabs... steamed til they're no longer blue, covered in Old Bay seasoning, picked and eaten beside the water. That will happen soon.

9. I have always liked Amy Grant's music and am slightly obsessed with her new album-How Mercy Looks from Here.  

10. I like to follow the rules.

Now for the part where I cheat...I'm supposed to pass this award on to ten bloggers, but I will just say if your blog is full of epic awesomeness consider yourself tagged.

Unknown Mami

And if you have fragments to share why not hop over to Unknown Miami's blog on Friday and add your link there too.  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Indulging in the Hodgepodge

Welcome to this week's edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge!  Add your link at the end of my post before running off to visit your neighbors.  Here are my answers~


1. Picture postcards were first printed back in the mid 1800's and deltiology is the official name for postcard collecting. When did you last send a postcard? Receive one? Do you save postcards sent to you?  Do you collect and/or send postcards when you travel?

I think the last time I sent a postcard was when hubs and I were in Florida back in February.  I pick up postcards whenever I'm somewhere that sells them because they're fun to send to daughters who love getting real mail. Since we talk on the phone a lot, I don't always have enough news  for a letter...a postcard is a fun way to brighten their day.  

I think the last time I received a postcard was in March. My sister and her family were vacationing in New Mexico and my nephew sent me a postcard.  I love to see little boy handwriting on a card or letter.

2. What treat do you most like to indulge in while on vacation?

Al fresco dining
Breakfast eaten out every morning
Room service

3. Are you good at hiding your feelings?

It depends on the audience. With family and close friends no, but with causal acquaintances I can put on a happy face even if I'm not necessarily feeling it.  I'm better at hiding annoyance, disappointment, and  impatience than I am at hiding hurt.  

4. Does your town/city/county still deliver phone books to your home?  Do you check the yellow pages when searching for a local business number or has the Internet replaced the phone book in your house?

This question came to mind because on Monday the mail lady handed me a big pile of phone books when she stopped by with the mail. I went in the house and promptly dumped the old never-opened, phone books into the recycling bin and replaced them with these new, likely-never-to-be opened phone books. These days if I need a business number it's easier to 'let my fingers do the walking' right over to Google.  

I bet I just dated myself with that slogan. Course if you don't know where it came from you can always google it. teehee.

5. Would you rather be first or last?

First. 

What are we doing? 
Doesn't matter. 
I still say first.  

Wait, unless it's something dare devilish, and then I need someone else to go first and tell me whatever it is won't make my stomach do cartwheels. 

6. July is National Park and Recreation Month (in America, but everyone can still play along)...where and when were you last in a park? Did you participate in any recreational activities while you were there?

We were in a park on Friday, which I wrote about in Monday's blog post. Lots of recreation available in this park, but we didn't do any swimming, hiking, or fishing. We did check out their visitors center and we walked up to the monument for a look around at the gorgeous views.  

Prior to that we were in The Great Smoky Mountain National Park over the July 4th holiday...we did a little hiking and a lot of porch sittin'. That counts as recreation, right? 

If we're in town on a weekend and it's not raining-ahem!, hubs and I take our pup for a hike in one of several parks within an easy drive of our home. We like to hike, but do more of that in the fall when the weather is cooler.  

7. What was one of your worst ideas?

The first thing that popped into my head was a small painting disaster that occurred more than ten years ago in my Maryland house. I was aiming for a terra cotta color on the top half of my dining room wall, and it was supposed to be rag rolled which was a popular wall treatment back then. 

We hired a painter and he was 'les incompentents'. I think you know what that means even if you don't speak French.  The 'painter' put the paint on backwards, and I can't remember now if light goes on dark or dark on light, but whatever it was supposed to be, it wasn't.  The end result was bad. Really really bad. We ended up wallpapering over the paint, and it turned out beautifully.  All's well that ends well.

Except occasionally hubs likes to remind me of 'the paint job that looked like someone chucked a giant pumpkin at our dining room wall'.  He was not wrong. 

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Speaking of parks and rec....hubs sent me this video a hunter posted on facebook. It was taken from a tree stand the hunter was perched in, somewhere in Alberta, Canada. There's one small naughty word whispered at the end, but if you watch the video you'll understand why he felt the need to use it -ha! 






Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 133

It's that time again...answer the questions on your own blog then hop back here tomorrow (Wednesday) to link answers with all your peeps. Everyone is welcome to play along-


1. Picture postcards were first printed back in the mid-1800's and deltiology is the official name for postcard collecting. When did you last send a postcard?  Receive one? Do you save postcards sent to you? Do you collect and/or send postcards when you travel?

2. What treat do you most like to indulge in while on vacation?

3. Are you good at hiding your feelings?

4. Does your town/city/county still deliver telephone books to your home? Do you check the yellow pages when searching for a local business number or has the internet replaced the phone book in your home?

5. Would you rather be first or last?

6. July is National Park and Recreation Month (in America, but everyone can still play along)...where and when were you last in a park?  Did you participate in any recreational activities while you were there?

7.  What was one of your worst ideas?

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Summer in the City

The country too.


Lame.  In my defense this old blog has been a bit neglected this summer, and I'm a little rusty when it comes to creating post titles.


We really were in the city this past weekend which I'll blab on about in a minute, but before the city there was the country.

England.

No we weren't there this weekend, but some friends we met while living across the pond trekked all the way to the Garden State for a visit. They're from Canada although he's originally from New Zealand, but we were all together in New Jersey for a fun few days.

Is anyone confused?

They arrived Thursday afternoon, and we managed to sit on the patio for a while after dinner, which was the only night we got to have a fire. I will refrain from commenting on the weather.

Friday was actually a good day to spend outdoors, because it was overcast and the rain and humidity didn't arrive until later in the day.

Oops, I mentioned the weather.


It was nice enough to have breakfast al fresco, which is my favorite way to dine. Afterwards we drove up to Highpoint and stood on top of the world.


Okay, we were only on top of New Jersey, but still the views are lovely.


We drove back to Tinytown for lunch and our friends got a glimpse of the sweet side of NJ wildlife-


If that were my tree I might not find this quite so sweet, but it wasn't so yes, it's sweet.

Saturday we spent the day in the city. It was raining when we left the house, but we forged ahead anyway, and the sun came out by the time we'd crossed the bridge. We were headed to the Met and normally you can just hop across the park, but Mariah Carey was having a concert that evening and there was no crossing the park.


Just ask these guys.

We had already attempted to go through, and did I mention the humidity?  I know I said I wouldn't, but walking around Central Park on a humid July day is not for sissies. We finally gave up and hailed a taxi.

Do people say 'hail a taxi' anymore?

We made it to the
 air conditioning
Metropolitan Museum of Art, and spent a few leisurely hours wandering the halls there. Absolutely one of my favorite museums in the world.

Afterwards we 'hailed' another taxi and headed all the way down 5th to Eataly. I've mentioned this spot on my blog before (here), but just know if you love all things Italian in the food and wine department you'll want to see it for yourself. It's a combination shop and dine experience, and we started in the cheese restaurant with a meat and cheese plate that was positively fantastico!


We eventually moved over to their seafood restaurant Il Pesce, and shared frutti di mer, fritto misto 'alla Ligure', and one ginormous, yet perfectly cooked flounder.


Course no trip to the Big Apple is complete without a stop in Times Square-

We went up to the lounge in the Marriott Marquis, and had a birds eye view of all the goings on down below. This view included a million and one different things, even a bride and her Marine groom.


As is always the case with weekends, this one went by way too fast. Once upon a time we sat at one another's kitchen tables in a village across the sea. We shared meals, sorted through stacks of pottery together, and compared notes on raising teenage daughters. We even put our car on the train and ended up in the picturesque seaside town of Le Touqet France one March weekend a lifetime ago.

The first year hubs and I were back in the states we made the drive north to their charming home on Prince Edward Island where we dined on mussels and lobster, and I stepped back into my childhood and the days of Anne of Green Gables.


So thankful for friends, that while the geographical distance may be great...


...the heart distance is always just a beat away.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Life's A Hodgepodge

Welcome to another edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge.  Answer the questions on your own blog then add your link to the end of my post.  Don't forget to visit your neighbors!  Here are my answers~


1. What's something people might ask you for help with?

Hmmm...can't think of a thing I'm an expert on. Childcare? Disagreeable toddlers? I'm good with kids so maybe something child-related.  

I'm also always happy to help out doing whatever needs doing, provided its not something on my list in question #2.

2. What's something you might ask people for help with?

Computer malfunctions, any sort of car trouble, and moving furniture. Just ask any big strong boy my girls know (and a few who were strangers, but who were lucky enough to be passing by when a couch or mattress needed carrying down stairs in 105 degree heat). Most boys they know have hauled something up and down stairs, lugged something heavy to the car, or have loaded bins and boxes in and out of a storage unit for us at one point or another in the past seven years.  

You wish we were friends in real life too, don't you? Ha!

3. Did your family take summer vacations when you were a child?  If so, where did you go?  If you're a parent, did/do you plan summer vacations for your own family?  Did/do they resemble those you took as a child?

Not every summer, but there were some summers we took big trips.  My grandparents lived out west so we made trips to Colorado and New Mexico to visit them, just not every summer (I wrote about that here and here). 

I have older siblings and a couple of summers we also did that thing parents do where they combine a vacation with a college tour.  I'm sure it was a lot of hours in the car, and some of it was likely boring, but funny how I only remember the fun family togetherness where we got to swim in hotel pools and eat out a lot.  Kids don't need fancy.

When my own girls were growing up we usually spent a week at the beach and we all still enjoy that. We're kind of always traveling, always have been too...we've never lived near our families so we'd always try to see them at some point every summer. And of course once we moved overseas travel became a way of life.  

It's a hard habit to break. 
Just sayin'. 

4. Pool-lake-ocean...which one is most appealing to you on a hot summer day?

D. All of the above.  

I prefer boating on a lake and swimming in a pool.  I do love swimming in the ocean, but only if the water temperature isn't too frigid or the undertow too powerful.  

5. Have you ever justified using the expression 'you gotta be cruel to be kind'? Was it really necessary or were you rationalizing?

I don't think there's ever an excuse for cruelty. I do think tough love is sometimes necessary in raising children who might be living on the edge, but never cruelty. Tough love is still love. Cruelty isn't love.

6. The Journal of Psychology recently mentioned the results of a survey identifying the ten most hated foods as-liver, lima beans, mayonnaise, mushrooms, eggs, okra, beets, brussel sprouts, tuna, and gelatin. Of those foods, how many do you actually hate?  Any you'd add to the list?

The only one on the list I 'hate' is liver.  I like everything else listed and would even say some of those foods are favorites.  Brussel sprouts, eggs, okra, mayo and tuna are eaten around here on a regular basis.  

7. What's your favorite book or movie set in a beach or lake town?

The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy is one of my favorite books. He's one of my favorite authors and I like pretty much everything he's ever written.  His books are set mostly in southern coastal towns and he writes so beautifully you can practically smell the low country air.  

As far as movies go Jaws still twists my stomach into knots, even though I know what's coming. On Golden Pond is definitely another favorite. A sweet story that makes me want a summer cabin on a gorgeous lake with a little wood boat to take out fishing.  

I'm sure when I read other answers to this question today I'll remember a few more I love.  

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Excited to have special friends coming to town for a few days. We've got big plans to lounge on the patio while we catch up on life, live and in person. Can't wait! The last time the four of us were together we were guests in their home on Prince Edward Island.  



New Jersey is probably similar, right?   



Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Hodgepodge Questions-Vol 132

Here are the questions to this week's Hodgepodge.  Answer on your own blog, then be sure to hop back here tomorrow (Wednesday) to add your link to the party.  The more the merrier!


1. What's something people might ask you for help with?

2. What's something you might ask someone else for help with?

3.  Did your family take summer vacations when you were a child? If so, where did you go? If you're a parent, did/do you plan summer vacations with your own family? Did/do they resemble those you took as a child?

4.   Pool-lake-ocean...which one is most appealing to you on a hot summer day?

5.  Have you ever justified using the expression, 'you gotta be cruel to be kind'?  Was it really necessary or were you rationalizing?

6.  The Journal of Psychology recently mentioned the results of a survey identifying the ten most hated foods as-liver, lima beans, mayonnaise, mushrooms, eggs, okra, beets, brussel sprouts, tuna, and gelatin.  Of those foods, how many do you actually hate? Anything you'd add to the list?

7. What's your favorite book or movie set in a beach or lake town?

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Somewhere in the Smoky Mountain Rain

It would require far more restraint than I possess today not to mention the weekend weather, particularly since we were driving in it.

For 27 hours.

We spent the long weekend in the Smokies visiting family, celebrating Independence Day, attending hubs 35th high school reunion, and inching our way through one downpour after another.


Normally when we go to Tennessee we fly, because it's a good 12 hours for us, and that's only if we get out of North Jersey in the dark of night as opposed to making our escape during rush hour.  This time though, we were taking our pup with us so we drove. Did I mention it was raining? All 750 miles there and all 750 miles back? And yes, I know 12 + 12 = 24 hours, but the trek home required an additional three due to the weather and the fact that we were tired and needed more breaks.

Here's the thing though-


The Smokies are beautiful in any kind of weather...


In fact one of my favorite things to do when we're there is sit on the deck and listen to the rain.


The 'smoke' danced across the treetops all weekend long, the wind acting as a paintbrush to change the landscape before our very eyes.


The Smokies are a place of peace and beauty and it is impossible not to exhale when you come face to face with their grandeur. 


We had some much needed time catching up with hubs brother and sister in law this trip, and  that went way too fast. My brother in law is a master griller so on Thursday he BBQ'd ribs and brats and burgers for the whole crew.  


FYI-ribs grilled in the rain taste just as good as ribs grilled in sunshine. 


Daughter2 had a short weekend break between her summer school terms, so she was able to join us too.  She enjoyed time with her grandparents, but especially some time with her aunt and uncle who she loves so much and who live so far away.   


We played games, ate too much, and of course talked non-stop.  
There was also lots of porch sittin'-

 

...and plenty of 'wildlife'-


Why yes, that is a copperhead on the road in front of our driveway.  Naturally hubs had to get out of the car and approach it because that's just what he does.  It might not have been a big one, but he was definitely feisty. He's hissing here. 

The snake, not the hubs.    

Even the deer have grown weary of the rain. This buck couldn't be bothered to get up as we approached.  


I don't blame him...all this rain makes me want to stay under the covers too.  

There's a place tucked away inside this magnificent mountain range that holds special meaning for our family. On Friday morning the rain held off long enough for us to hike up there together. The spot feels a little bit sacred so I don't think I'll post any pictures, but it was good to be there together. The mountains are a wonderful place to reflect on how big God is and to remember how much He loves us.

As we drove home yesterday we saw this-


After the rain there comes a rainbow.
A gentle reminder that God is good, and we are not forgotten.
He keeps His promises.