Monday, September 30, 2013

I Hear A Symphony

...and dogs barking, horns honking, and people speaking en francais.


That sentence pretty much sums up my weekend, and what a fabulous weekend it was. You know I must first mention the weather, right?  Absolutely gorgeous! It's really starting to look and feel like fall here, and I'm just going to pretend I don't see that high of 82 predicted for Wednesday, because now that fall is here I'm ready for cooler temps.

We had sunny bright blue skies all weekend long, and spent as much time out of doors as we could.  Friday night a business friend of the hubs invited us to be his guests at the opening night gala of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. We actually know several people connected to the symphony as trustees and supporters, but we'd never been to a performance here.


The venue is stunning and the acoustics are amazing. Musicians say this particular venue has some of the best they've ever experienced, and I'd definitely love to see more. The symphony performs in the NJ PAC (Performing Arts Center) located in the Ironbound section of downtown Newark. I've written before about all the wonderful restaurants in that area, but the gala event included a cocktail hour, the performance itself, and then a late night supper after the show so we had dinner in the PAC. Everything was so lovely, truly, whoever organized the event gave it just the right touch.

Hubs and I like to dress up, and doesn't going to the symphony sound like a grown up thing to do? The music was fabulous (yes, I know I'm overdoing it with the adjectives, but really-it was fabulous) and the dinner afterwards was delicious. I sat beside the percussionist and enjoyed hearing more about how the symphony works, and how he got involved with it. Plus, here is my dessert-


I didn't take a lot of photos because it felt a little bit obnoxious, but this dessert was so good I didn't think anyone would mind.


Saturday was another blue sky kind of day so hubs did some yard work and I did some fun things like wash the bathroom rugs, and then we went into town and had a lovely al fresco lunch. Hubs wanted to take the MG, but I had a new haircut that was still feeling new so I said we had to go in a car with a lid.  Convertibles + hair =convertible hair.  'Nuff said.


Sunday was yet another beautiful day and we had plans to trek into the city to check out an event at the Javits Center.  Super cool building!  The Javits Center is home to some of the biggest events in NYC, and hubs has been to a couple of work related convention type things there, but this was my first time inside. We were there for an event called 'Meet the Breed' aka puppy time!

There were hundreds of dog and cat breeds represented, but sadly no Gordon Setter breeders. We really want another Gordon, but hubs has also always wanted an Irish Setter and I've always said no way, because do you know any Irish Setters? They're crazy. Fun crazy, but still a little too high energy for me. Except maybe this one-


What a love, and so mild mannered. Her owner is going to breed her later this fall and we took his contact information, and now hubs will start the process of trying to convince me we need an Irish Setter.  We do have some Gordon contacts, so right now I'm still holding out for another Gordon.


After we'd wandered around the dog show we headed out of doors, because quite honestly there are few things better than a sunny fall day in The Big Apple.  We walked all the way to Bryant Park and had a lovely lunch on the patio at The Bryant Park Grill. I highly recommend.


As it happens there was a French festival going on in the park all weekend long, so we wandered through that and dreamed of trips to the French countryside while savoring dessert-a French cheese plate.  Si délicieux!

We thoroughly enjoyed the weekend.  When you live in the Northeast you need to take advantage of the gorgeous autumn, because we all know what comes next.  Hopefully not a foot and a half of snow in October, but hey, it's happened the last two years before so not as crazy as it sounds.

Soaking up the sunny mild days of fall makes the coming winter a little easier to bear.
A trip to France wouldn't hurt either.  

Friday, September 27, 2013

Five Minutes of True

Linking with Five Minute Friday over at Lisa Jo Baker's today.  Lisa posts a one word prompt on her blog, and then we write for five solid minutes, no editing, no filtering, no over thinking. The only other 'rule' is that you add your link to the hundred plus others writing too, and then leave a comment for the bloggers beside you on the list. Why not give it a try?

Today's word-true

Five Minute Friday

I try to glance at the word prompt on Thursday evening before I go to bed, so I can mull it over some before I write. I don't know if that's considered breaking the rules, but I try to never write without thinking first. Most word prompts can go in as many different directions as there are writers, so I let it find a place to land before I put my fingers to the keyboard.

Jesus loves me this I know
For the Bible tells me so

True.

The words to that simple childhood song were sung to me, and by me, and with me over and over and over again when I was a little girl. They permeated my mind and my heart and are embedded so deeply into my soul that they are never out of reach.  

My mother tells the story of sitting in church one Sunday morning, all of us spread out in a row across the pew, when my baby sister, a toddler at the time, spontaneously began singing Jesus Loves Me out.loud. in the middle of the service.  I asked my mom what the congregation did, and she said they all just listened.

I thought about that story today when I read the prompt. About the sureness of those words and the simple innocence of children. About how we adults so often want to twist or bend or manipulate truth, but if something is really true, it stands up to our human-ness and looks the same at the end as it did at the start.

Jesus loves me this I know
For the Bible tells me so.

True.

When the world feels heavy
when my heart feels anxious
when I doubt myself
when people let me down

when I'm worried afraid angry lost

I reach back into my childhood and grab hold of what's true.

Jesus loves me this I know
For the Bible tells me so.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Falling Into the Hodgepodge

Welcome to the Wednesday Hodgepodge! Add your link at the end of my post and then be a good neighbor and go say hi to the bloggers linking around you. Here are my answers-


1. What's one thing that's still the same about you as when you were young?

Two things came immediately to mind...a) I'm an eternal optimist, always have been, always will be, and b) if an airplane, boat, or amusement park ride are on the agenda I'll be needing that Dramamine.  

2. What's more important-history or science?  Why?

It's a tough call.  I think most disciplines are interconnected, but if I'm forced to choose I'll say history. Science is powerful, but history is what helps us use that power wisely.    

3. Lima, kidney, string, garbanzo, black, or pinto-your favorite bean?

I like all beans, but string (green) beans are my favorite. 

4. What's something people come to your town to do?

Hmmm...not a lot happening in our little town. You kinda need to go somewhere else if you actually want to do things.  There's a lake, but you can't just pull up and dump your boat in.  You might come here to sit by the lake, get an ice cream cone, or watch the water ski team practice or perform. 

5. When was the last time you were in a meeting? Sum it up for us in five words or less.

As it happens a meeting is happening at my house this morning, but since I answer the HP on Tuesday and the meeting is on Wednesday I can't summarize.  

Did that sentence make you feel like you'd stepped into some kind of time warp?  

I was in a meeting of sorts yesterday (and by yesterday I do mean Tuesday)-my women's bible study.  Does that count?  Since I make the rules I'm going to say yes, it definitely counts.  To summarize-
I'm loving the story of Ruth. 

I realize that's six words, but I needed every single one.  Is anyone surprised that my five word answer is now paragraphs long?  

6. What special event would you like a VIP pass to attend?

The Olympics, Wimbledon, or a concert by one of my favorite bands.  

7. What's one piece of advice you'd give a writer?

Use your own voice.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Have you seen this video of the Star Spangled Banner that's been making it's way around various sites? I normally hate it when a singer messes with the anthem in any way, shape, or form, but I have to say I love their rock and roll version of the song. 

I went to their website to see what else they do, and they talk about loving America which is kind of refreshing. They perform at a lot of veterans events, and it turns out they're local boys. Hubs and I might have to check them out in person one of these days.  







Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 143

Here are the questions to this week's Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog, but be sure to hop back here tomorrow and link up with all your friends and neighbors.


1. What's one thing that's still the same about you as when you were young?

2. What's more important-history or science? Why?

3. Lima, kidney, string, garbanzo, black or pinto-your favorite bean?

4. What's something people come to your town to do?

5. When was the last time you were in a meeting? Sum it up for us in five words or less.

6. What special event would you like a VIP pass to attend?

7. What's one piece of advice you'd give a writer?

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Makin' A List, Checkin' It Twice

I woke up this morning with a list running through my head, which is pretty typical for me on a Monday. I know some people dread Monday mornings, but I love them. A brand new week lies in front of me, I feel energized to accomplish great things, and I wake up happy to face my coffee and my  calendar.

Course by end of day Wednesday I'm usually forced to look reality in the eye and admit to myself all those to-dos are not gonna get done. But hey! Thursday's practically the weekend, which means another Monday morning is right around the corner.  

Is anyone else a little bit fascinated by the concept of time, or is that just me?

Speaking of lists, and yes I was because Mondays in my house are full of lists-things to do today, a weekly menu plan, groceries, and my favorite-a list filled with all the things I'm going to do before Friday gets here. There is something supremely satisfying about drawing a line through an item on a to do list.  Not nearly as satisfying when done electronically btw, which is why I still have scraps of actual paper scattered across my kitchen counter.

One thing on my list today is 'blog'. I'm reduced to writing write on a list beside return the Redbox rental and pick up a hook for a picture that needs hanging, because if it's on my to-do list it feels legitimate and not frivolous. Is blogging frivolous?

Where in the world is this post going?  How 'bout I recap the weekend which contained a happy surprise in the form of this-


Daughter1 booked a train ticket home to surprise me for my birthday. That's our attempt at a 'selfie' in front of Rita's Italian Ice. I'd dragged her along on a million errands on Friday including the dry cleaners, the pharmacy, the vet, and the supermarket, so Rita's was the least I could do to say thanks. Errands are so much more fun with a daughter in tow.

Friday night hubs made a fire in our outdoor firepit, and we grilled salmon, and then had leftover birthday cake. Hubs knows it's not officially my birthday without this cake-dark chocolate filled with a delicate raspberry mousse, and then the piece de resistance-a rich chocolate ganache topping.


It is every bit as delicious as it sounds. We had a piece on my birthday, and as I was cutting it he said, 'Let's not eat it all, we should save some for Daughter1'. Seriously? Did he really think the two of us could eat an entire cake in a single day?

We couldn't, could we?

Saturday morning we woke up to fall temperatures so hubs re-lit the fire and we had our coffee outdoors, which makes my list of top ten favorite things to do on a weekend.  I rousted Daughter1 out of bed early so she could get in on the fun too.


She didn't mind.
She's used to us.


Later in the day we went over to the ski resort in a nearby town to check out their Oktoberfest celebration.


Vegetarians look away.


We had some fantabulous barbecue, grilled sausage, potato pancakes, and of course that traditional German dessert-cotton candy. What can I say...my girl loves her cotton candy.


Is she too cute for words, or what?


We listened to a little oompah music and then took the requisite ride up the mountain to check out the view. Y'all know this is not my favorite thing, and you can tell by the crazy hair that it was windy. Why is it always windy when I have to ride a cart up a mountain?


There are loads of mountain bike trails cut into the mountain, and we saw lots of bikers out enjoying the pretty weather. The views are gorgeous from up top, plus we had to get a closer look at the zipline course.  Hubs and daughter1 were making plans to come back and do that, and of course hubs started giving me his usual pep talk that runs along the lines of 'You could do that' and 'You'd love it!'.


I gave it a solid maybe.

Daughter1 and I watched Pitch Perfect on Saturday night.  I'd never seen it and thought it was cute, plus I liked the music. Hubs watched too, and by 'watched' I mean he napped on the couch.

We didn't have to trek to the train until Sunday night which was nice. Daughter1 helped me with our Christmas card (whoohoo-it's still September!), and she set up an Ipod speaker we got for Christmas last year that I could not for the life of me figure out how to work.  When I say set up I mean she turned it on.  Really, it was pretty much that simple, except somehow blue tooth is involved and when I hear the words blue tooth I stop listening.

We grilled turkey burgers for dinner, and I'm just gonna go ahead and admit I'm not really a fan.  I want to like them because I know they're better for you than beef, but there is something about ground turkey that gives me the heebie jeebies.  I love roast turkey and turkey sandwiches and turkey soup, but ground turkey?  Shiver.

I always doctor them up to add flavor, and yesterday we marinated the burgers in a soy-ginger-citrus concoction and then topped them with grilled pineapple.  I loved the grilled pineapple, and the burgers didn't taste bad, there's just something about the texture I don't love.  Where's the beef?

Okay, those to-dos are not going to cross themselves off, so I need to get busy.  It's Monday, and Mondays are made for productivity.

Or a good book and a nap on the patio in the afternoon sun.  Maybe I need to put that on my list!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Five Minutes of She

I'm linking up with Five Minute Friday today, because it's Friday and because I have approximately five minutes to be on the computer this morning.

Here's how it works-Write for 5 mintues flat for pure unedited love of the writeen word. Link back to our hostess, Lisa Jo Baker, and invite others to join the party. Then leave a comment to the writer who linked just before you.  If you're reading here, why not play along?

Today's word is-She

huh?

Yikes!

Okay-here we go...

Five Minute Friday

She locked eyes with herself in the form of a newborn baby girl. She held a miracle in her arms. She felt every inch of her being expand and make room.  She knew in that moment what it meant to say your heart is so full it might burst.

She grew up beside the golden haired girls she had birthed. She relished the rocking and the singing and the scent of a freshly bathed toddler. The princess crowns and the ballet slippers. The homework at the kitchen table, and the let's pretend, and the word momma said aloud by a pony tailed minature version of herself.

She held soft little girl hands and got a peek into their souls via car ride conversations and bedtime prayers. She colored and painted and giggled and played. She talked and listened, and marveled at the turning of the years and the deepening of the well.

She prepared a thousand lunches and wiped a dozen tears. She bandaged skinned knees and soothed wounded hearts.  She read a million books and laughed ten hundred times ten hundred.

She packed boxes and memories and moved them from the midwest to the east coast to the other side of the pond and back again.  She held on to the promise I will never leave you or forsake you, and felt the truth of those words as she logged miles from familiar.

She made birthday cakes and appointments and mistakes and a home. She loved the barefoot teenager, guitar in hand, and the brave one too who inspired with strength and detemination and self-discipline.

She loved the holidays and the everydays and she laughed more than she cried.

She prayed for wisdom and patience and eyes to see, and she smelled the roses, lived the minutes, and let her heart be grateful.

She let the chord out slowly, deliberately, sometimes fearfully, but still she ungripped her hand and let it all the way out, and it was in the letting out and letting go, she got back ten thousand times ten thousand.

She bows her head in thankfulness and stands in awe of a God who created the glorious scary beautiful messy funny blessed thing called motherhood.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

They Say It's Your Birthday Hodgepodge

Welcome to the Hodgepodge...so glad you stopped by on my birthday!  I might mention that another one or ten times here today.  

Here are my answers to this week's questions...add your link at the end of my post, then go see what the other party goers had to say-


1. When did you last sing happy birthday to someone? When were you last sung to? Does that embarrass you or do you enjoy being the center of attention on your special day?

We sang happy birthday to hubs and my brother in law when we celebrated their birthdays on the boat over the Labor Day weekend. I think? Did we actually sing? I'm officially a year older today, and your ability to remember 'stuff' goes down exponentially in relation to your age going up. Just sayin'.  

I honestly can't remember the last time I was sung to, which is fine. I can be spoiled in other ways on my birthday-ha!  I'm a big believer in everyone feeling like a rock star on their big day. 

Oh, and I just remembered I have a friend who calls and sings to me over the phone and that totally counts. 

2. Name a famous or 'infamous' person who shares your birth month and day. Is that someone you'd like to meet in person if it were possible?

There were quite a few on the list I checked, but here's two I'd definitely invite to my party-

Ben Carson-world renown neurosurgeon, former chief of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins, son of a single mom from Detroit, a truly inspiring story of brilliance and plain old fashioned hard work.  Plus he called out the p.c. (politically correct) police when he was the guest speaker at the National Prayer Breakfast back in February. I'd definitely love to hear more about that.  

James Marsden-easy on the eyes. Former model, now a singer/actor best know for his roles in 27 Dresses, The Notebook, Enchanted, and Hairspray. Did I mention he's extremely easy on the eyes?  

3. Someone hands you a box tied up in a lovely bow...what are you hoping to find inside?

Jewelry of course. 
Or a great purse. 
Or tickets to someplace fabulous. 
Clothes would be okay too. 

4. What is something you can guarantee about yourself?

I don't do mean.

5. Talking about art and beautiful cities here...'The Last Supper' in the Santa Maria della Grazie Abbey in Milan, Italy or 'The Mona Lisa' in the Louvre, Paris...which would you most like to see up close and in person?  Why?

Oh my word-two fabulous cities.  If I'm making my choice based solely on the artwork, then I'd choose The Last Supper.  I've seen The Mona Lisa in the Louvre and it's always jam packed with tourists.  I think you can almost get a better look in a great art book.  I've never seen The Last Supper in person.  

Paris is one of my favorite cities in the world, and Italy is my happy place, so as far as location I'd be supremely happy with either one.  

6. Your favorite dessert?

Possibly the hardest question ever to grace the 'pages' of the Hodgepodge...I'm going with creme brulee. It's got to be done just right though, because a soggy brulee is just too sad to contemplate.

7. This coming weekend marks the official start of autumn (in the northern hemisphere)...what is something you do to get ready for fall?  What is one thing you're looking forward to on your fall calendar?  Spring or fall-which do you prefer?

I don't do a lot of seasonal decorating outside of Christmas, but I will change out my apothecary jars, replace the dead summer flowers in our patio pots with mums, and add some autumn candles around. I love the scents of autumn.

One thing I'm looking forward to? Well...I'm having two strangers I met on the Internet come stay with me for a long weekend.  Not as creepy as it sounds (I hope!)...they're women I 'met' four years ago, about the time I started my blog. We connected on the Living Proof website (Beth Moore's site) and ever since have been exchanging emails, prayer requests, cards, and presents...this fall we meet in person. 

Fall is my favorite season of the year. Perhaps if I lived in Florida I'd feel differently, but I live in the northeast which is never more spectacular than when autumn explodes in all her multi-colored glory.  

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Today's my birthday-whoohoo!




Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 142

Here are the questions to this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge.  Answer on your own blog, then hop back here tomorrow to link answers with the rest of the world...the Hodgepodge section of it anyway.  


1. When did you last sing happy birthday to someone? When were you last sung to? Does that embarrass you or do you enjoy being the center of attention on your special day?

2.  Name a famous or 'infamous' person (living or deceased) who shares your birth day and month. Is that someone you'd like to meet in person if it were possible?

3. Someone hands you a box tied up in a lovely bow...what are you hoping to find inside?

4. What can you guarantee about yourself?

5. Talking art and beautiful cities here...'The Last Supper' in the Santa Maria della Grazie Abbey in Milan Italy or 'The Mona Lisa' in The Louvre, Paris...which would you most like to see up close and in person?  Why?

6. Your favorite dessert?

7. This coming weekend marks the official start of autumn (in the Northern hemisphere)...what is something you do to get ready for fall? What is one thing you're looking forward to on your fall calendar? Spring or fall-which do you prefer?

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, September 16, 2013

I'm Not 20

I have a birthday this week, and if you've been around here for a while then you know I am not a grown up when it comes to my birthday.  I like it to be a big deal-ha! My family pretty much always comes through because they
are used to me
know me.

So guess what?

I'm not 20 anymore.

Does that surprise you, because sometimes the reality of that statement surprises me, and believe me, I am a long, long, way from 20. In fact my youngest child is now more than 20 so there you go.

When I was 20 I never had to spend a weekend with my foot elevated and iced because of a weird and random reaction to an antibiotic. True story. In fact, I'm pretty sure the only time I visited a doctor in my 20's was when I a) needed an immunization and form signed for a job, or b) I was pregnant.

Saturday marked my third trip to the doctor in two weeks.

When you're 20 you bounce back from stuff.  50-somethings don't bounce, at least not in a good way. Stuff lingers, and often requires more than one visit to a doctor who is also more than 20, but just barely.

When I was 20 I ate what I wanted.
Pizza in the middle of the night? Why not?

I cannot even tell you the last time I had pizza.

Wait, it was at my mom's and it was an emergency. We had driven down to her house, and arrived quite late without having eaten, so we ordered pizza. When I was 20, late night pizza was no big deal. Late night pizza now is a carefully considered decision, one we debate at length before giving in, and then asking ourselves the next day, "Why in the world did we order pizza at that hour?"

When I was 20 I didn't spend a lot of time thinking about how early was too early to put on my PJ's. Occasionally I wake up thinking about how many hours until I can put on my PJ's. I file this thought in the perks of getting older column.

We're not really sit around kind of people here, especially on the weekends. I know lots of people live with their yoga pants planted firmly on their sofa all weekend long, television remote in hand, but that's never been us. Hubs is not good at doing nothing, so while I sat on the couch all weekend long with my foot on ice, he worked in the yard, took his car and the pup for a drive in the country, ran a few miles...did stuff.

It's good to have a husband who still feels 20, because it keeps me young too.

I think?

When I was 20 I worried about so much unimportant stuff.
Another one for the 'bright side to growing older' column in my head.

When I was 20 I thought 60 was old. You kind of rethink that once you've hit the 50-something mark. Except for the weekends you spend plunked on the couch, doctors orders. Or the weekends you spend plunked on the couch due to an unexplained sleep injury. Do you get those?

Not unless you're something more than 20.

When I was 20 I thought retirement was for senior senior citizens. You know, people who were really old, not people who were 50-something. 60-something. 70-something. I also thought my abs would remain perfectly perfect and my children would always be within arms reach.

Allowing myself to insert a tiny little sigh here, because when you're the age I am, you give yourself a break sometimes.

When I was 20 I never gave a second thought to my 20-20 vision, my natural hair color, the movement in our 401-K, or the notion that an oven, water heater, and garage door could all 'break' within the span of one week.  Stuff like that's for grown ups, right?

Here's something I know right now...with every age you lose a little, gain a little. Your perspective on life is constantly evolving, but who you are at the core is still who you are at the core.  You can eat right, excersise, work crossword puzzles, stay current with the new technologies, color your hair, and correct your failing eyesight, but you are still older today than you were yesterday.  Every single one of us.

And that's not all bad or all good, it just is.

Do I wish I were turning 20-something instead of 50-something?

Honestly, no. I lived my 20's and I loved them. I was a college student, a newlywed, and a fresh faced mother before I left my 20's.

They were happy years, exhausting years, full to overflowing years, and while the events of my 50's will not be the same as those of my 20's, I hope when I look back I'll describe them the same-

Exhausting-happy-full to overflowing.

" He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle's" Psalm 103:5

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Continuing With The Stuff

So, I mentioned last Monday I was going to try to catch up some on my blog and now it's practically Friday, but who's counting?  If you've been here before you know the drill...brace yourselves for some mediocre.

I have a friend who moved here from the UK, and when her sister hopped the pond for a visit recently, she asked her to bring me this-


She knows I have a small obsession with all things England.

This adorable tin is filled with shortbread, and when my mom was here visiting last week we had tea and 'biscuits' every afternoon.  I even pulled out my Polish Pottery teapot and cups.


It's possible pottery is another tiny little obsession. ahem.  

Moving on...I'd purchased concert tickets for hubs birthday, so last Friday night we went to see The Marshall Tucker Band play in a small local venue. Marshall Tucker Band might be hubs all time favorite band, and they definitely rank up there in my top three.

The bands creator sadly passed away several years ago, along with his brother who was also a key member of the group, but the original voice is still singing, still sounding so awesome. They've maintained their original sound which is most important, and the flute/sax player is incredible.


Sometimes these 'old' bands want to play all new stuff, but MT played the old familiar and the audience loved it.

Back when I was in college (in TN) my younger sister, who was in college in Delaware, came for a visit. I remember sitting around talking about music with hubs and a friend of ours who happened to be from Spartanburg SC which is Marshall Tucker Band's hometown. This friend could not believe my sister didn't know any Marshall Tucker. My sister on the other hand, couldn't believe our South Carolina friend didn't know anything by 'the Boss'.

Guess everybody was a nobody once upon a time.
Even Springsteen.


Last Saturday hubs and I spent a fun afternoon at a local rodeo, and the weather could not have been more perfect for an outdoor event. We brought lawn chairs and set up on the hillside overlooking the ring, and we ate bbq and homemade ice cream while we waited on the cowboys.


This was a professional rodeo, the participants competing for points on whatever the big time rodeo circuit is, so really entertaining, and only slightly nerve wracking.


I gained a whole new respect for mamas who let their babies grow up to be cowboys.


Cowboys who need to wrap their arms from wrist to shoulder before jumping onto the back of a bucking bronco from which they will very likely be thrown.


On Sunday a young man who was our across the street neighbor (three houses ago), and who is currently hiking the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia, passed thru the portion that hits our neck of the woods.  We trekked out to meet him, bring a few supplies, and then run him into town for a break from trail food at a lovely little Italian place with outdoor seating.

Pretty sure there's no avocado topped with tuna tartar and caviar out on the trail.  If there is I'm pretty sure you wouldn't want to eat it.

I posted a picture of the boy on my facebook page, and yes he's actually now a man, but I've known him since kindergarten so he'll always be 'a boy' to me...anyway, I had to smile at all the commenters worried about his safety. The danger factor is part of what makes stuff like this fun.

Guess who would love to take six months and hike the A.T.?

I could see the wheels turning in hubs head.  I told him I'd go along for six days, maybe even sixteen days, but six months holds no appeal, mostly because I like showering every.single.day.

Once upon a time I spent eight days on the Appalachian Trail. It might be fun to write about that experience one of these days.  How about I leave you with this little teaser...

The leaders of our group almost sent me home pretty much as soon as we arrived because I hyperventilated, then fainted.  I scared them good, but here I am so I guess it all worked out in the end.  

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Peace in the Hodgepodge

Welcome to the Wednesday Hodgepodge...everyone is welcome to participate. Answer the questions on your own blog, then add your link at the end of my post before visiting the neighbors. 


1. What's the best thing about growing older?

I think as I've gotten older my 'voice' has become more my own. I'm able to consider all sorts of world and life issues with a wide lens, and then filter the important from the unimportant.  I can easily recognize what lines up with my beliefs and value system and what is contrary to that, and am less influenced by peers, trends, and public opinion than in my younger years. I also think as you age you feel a greater sense of urgency to figure out what really matters, and to act on it...that's a good thing.

2.  When did you first feel like a grown up?

It was a process, but I think I felt officially grown up when hubs and I moved to Richmond.  We'd been married less than a year and were living in Knoxville TN, a very familiar city, with family nearby.  I was 25 years old.  Hubs got a new job, we bought our first house, explored new places, began some of our own traditions, and got ready to welcome a baby. It felt like the place we became officially us. Grown ups.  
3. Chocolate cake with white icing or white cake with chocolate icing?

Finally an easy question...chocolate cake with white icing for sure!

4. What's the nicest thing a stranger has ever done for you?

When I was in grad school I drove by myself from collegetown TN over to Myrtle Beach SC to meet my parents who were vacationing there. Back in the day (gosh I sound old!) you had to take the two lane over the mountain as opposed to the lovely highway there now, and my car died. The clutch went kaput and that was that.  

It was right around sunset on a Sunday evening, and I was pretty much the only car on the road. I was also over a mile from the exit, and 'back in the day' (gosh I sound old!) there was no such thing as a mobile telephone. As I sat there panicking debating what to do, an elderly gentleman pulled up beside me in a pick up truck.  Actually he was probably more middle aged than elderly, but I was 23 and perspective is everything (gosh I sound old!).  He commented on the fact that I had a 'foreign car', and as such would need to be towed to the dealer.  Then he offered me a ride into town.  
Dilemma! 

I'm my mother's daughter, so of course the whole serial killer scenario flashed through my head, but I also knew I didn't have a lot of options. Just as I was getting out of my car and into his truck, an acquaintance from college passed by on the opposite side of the road.  She recognized my car, did a U-turn, and pulled up behind us. She had a carload of people and possessions, but said she'd follow us into town to make sure he wasn't a serial killer I got where I needed to go. She was obviously her mother's daughter too! Anyway, he was just a kind man helping a young girl who needed help, and I've never forgotten him or his willingness to go out of his way for me.  

5. What's something you learned from your grandparents?

My maternal grandma was a woman who prayed, my mama is a pray-er, and I think I am as well so that's something. 

6. Wednesday marks a sad day in the history of planet earth-9/11...what's something you do (or can do) to bring peace to your little corner of the world?

I'm something of a peacemaker...I really dislike controversy, plus I'm the third born child in my family. I think third borns are often peacemakers. I'm also a mother, and as such I feel like I hold the keys to peace at home.  

Outside of my home, I try to treat people with kindness, to remember that everyone has a story and sometimes we don't get to know that story, we just have to deal with the effects it has wrought on their well being and temperament.  One thing I think everyone can do is to 'simmer down'...people are so easily offended it seems, ready to challenge and argue and accuse with little provocation. How 'bout we all agree to give each other a break?

7. Share a favorite quote, scripture, or song containing the word peace.

One of my all time favorite songs ever, particularly this version. I've posted it several times on my blog, and while it's typically played at Christmas time, it feels right to add it here today.  
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep..." 


8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I've struggled with a random thought this morning, nothing feels like the right thing to say. I like this verse so will share it here. These words bring me comfort and fill me with hope...I pray they do the same for you today. 

"...In this world you will have trouble. But take heart!  I have overcome the world." John 16:33






    Tuesday, September 10, 2013

    Birthdays with a Side of Hodgepodge

    It's Tuesday, so you know what that means, right?


    It's my baby girl's birthday!

    Oh, and I have to post the Hodgepodge questions too, but more importantly...


    It's my baby girl's birthday!

    She told me last week that her students are very excited about her big day, so I'm hoping lots of lovely minutes fill the hours today. I sent a big box full of goodies, which she got last week, and I have to smile because she didn't open a single present. Four whole complete entire days have passed, and still they are unopened. Being the disciplined person she is, she placed them neatly in front of her coffee table to be opened today, her official birthday.

    My sister lives near my daughter2, and has a special dinner planned. Thank heaven for sisters who cook and plan and love on daughters living far from home on their birthday.


    This girl makes the world a brighter place, and I am so lucky to be her momma.  
    Happy Birthday Daughter2...I love you to the moon and back!

    Be sure to grab this week's Hodgepodge questions before you go...


    1. What's the best thing about growing older?

    2. When did you first feel like a grown up?

    3. Chocolate cake with white icing or white cake with chocolate icing?

    4. What's the nicest thing a stranger has ever done for you?

    5.  What's something you learned from your grandparents?

    6. Wednesday marks a sad day in the history of planet earth-9/11...what's something you do (or can do) to bring peace to your little corner of the world?

    7.  Share a favorite quote, scripture, or song containing the word peace.  

    8.  Insert your own random thought here.

    Monday, September 9, 2013

    Gotta Start Somewhere

    Hi blog.  Remember me?  I have a whirling twirling spinning spiraling mish mash of about a million things going through my head right now so I'm just going to dive in and unload a few of them here.  You're excited I know.

    Hubs informed me last night that I hadn't been on my blog since September 4th, and that was the Hodgepodge which doesn't count.  I mean, it counts but not really.  No offense Hodgepodge!


    Let's see...hubs had a birthday over the long Labor Day weekend and it was delightful. All except for the crazy hat-boat hair I had going on, but other than that delightful. I'd like my coffee here every morning please.


    My sister and her hubs and their 7-year old son invited us to spend four days on their boat down in Chestertown Maryland.  That's pretty much our idea of a perfect long weekend, and my brother and his wife came too, so lots of fun.


    Hubs finally got his feet back into a water ski which made him ridiculously happy. That's exactly how you should feel on your birthday, right?  The skis were too small, but he didn't even care, he was just so glad to be back on the water.


    When we were first dating hubs skied a lot, and I gotta tell you it made me love him a little bit more than I already did.  He was always completely fearless on waterskis, and if you don't believe me, just ask a sailboat missing a chunk of its hull in an East Tennessee lake and a couple of cows who never saw him coming back in 1982.


    At the ripe old age of not-23, he's still pretty fearless on the water, still trying to kick up a big spray, still making it look easy.


    He gained a couple of new fans that day.


    The weather was gorgeous the entire weekend, and the scenery was so beautiful.  We love this part of Maryland, and if you're water people like we are you'll love it too.


    It's hard to beat a crab feast eaten with a view like that.
    Unless it's a view like this-


    I made these chocolate cupcakes which have a sinfully delicious blob of ganache dropped into the batter before baking.  So delicious! My nephew declared them the best chocolate cupcakes he'd ever eaten, and he's something of an expert on the topic. I copied a little boating theme for the decor that I'd seen on Pinterest and they turned out cute.

    I've got more, but this feels like a start...


    A peaceful easy happy summertime memory kind of start.

    Wednesday, September 4, 2013

    A Honey of a Hodgepodge


    1. What's something you're never too young or too old to enjoy?

    Lots of things-Disney World, a sunny day, music, an ice cream cone, a nap...

    2. Share one happy memory from your high school years.

    Some of my happiest memories from those years are associated with the youth group at my church. We were a bunch of kids in various grades, who came together from three or four different high schools, and we were close.  

    We're scattered like the wind now, although many of us are back in touch on facebook, which has been fun. Those 'kids' will always hold a special place in my heart. 

    3. A nationwide strike of fast food employees took place in the US last week...they're calling for higher wages and the right to unionize.  Your thoughts?

    Fast food is no longer fast, nor is it inexpensive. It used to be people who took that sort of job viewed it as temporary...a summer job, a second job to help make ends meet, students, or people looking for other work who needed a little money until they found something more substantial.  

    A job-not a lifelong career. 

    I realize nowadays some people work fast food because they can't find anything else, but I personally think for the job they are doing, $15 hour is a lot. Like most business owners, fast food chains are also in business to make money, and I imagine they will cut staff or raise costs to maintain profits. 

    I'd say no to a union in this case...do the people clamoring for a union know what that will cost not only their employer, but also the employee? 

    4. September is National Honey Month...what's a favorite dish you make or eat that calls for honey?

    I don't use a lot of honey, mostly because it's one of those items I forget about. I guess my favorite thing to eat with honey would be a toasted English muffin.  I like the way honey gets down in all the nooks and crannies.  

    5. If you notice someone with a tag sticking out, a button unbuttoned, a shirt inside-out, or some leftover lunch between their teeth,  do you say something or do you keep quiet?

    I thought about this recently as we sat behind a woman at a wedding whose dress was unbuttoned.  Just the top button, but it made the edge of her dress flop over funny. She was going to get up and do a reading, and I desperately wanted to reach over and button her dress, but hubs gave me the evil eye so I refrained.  

    If I know you I'd retuck your tag or let you know if a button were undone.  Depending on where we are I might tell you if your shirt is on inside out. If there's no place to go and fix it, then I'd probably keep quiet about that. I have to know you pretty well to mention food in your teeth.

    6. What's a movie that always makes you cry? Or at least makes you feel like crying?

    Brian's Song...the original version though, with James Caan and Billy Dee Williams, not the remake. Why did somebody feel the need to remake that one? 

    The movie is based on the real life relationship between football players Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo. Just hearing the music from the original can make me cry. 

    7. Mary Had a Little Lamb was written in 1830, and published in Juvenile Miscellany in September of that same year. Now for the fun part...create your own four line rhyme using that same tune.

    My mom is here, my mom is here, 
    mom is here, mom is here
    No time to chat, 'bout this or that, 
    We're go-ing shopping.

    Hmmm, that wasn't easy after all.  Or fun. 

    8. Insert your own random thought here.

    I had to go find the clip of Gale Sayers speech.  I'm okay up to the 1:30 mark, but once he hits that mark pass the tissues please.  



    Tuesday, September 3, 2013

    Hodgepodge Questions-Vol 140

    A new week means a new set of questions for the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog, but be sure to hop back here tomorrow and add your link to the party. Here ya go-


    1. What's something you're never too young or too old to enjoy?

    2. Share one happy memory from your high school years.

    3. A nationwide strike of fast food employees took place in the U. S. last week...they're calling for higher wages and the right to unionize? Your thoughts?

    4. September is National Honey Month...what's a favorite dish you make or eat that calls for honey?

    5.  If you notice someone with a tag sticking out, a button unbuttoned, a shirt on inside-out, or some leftover lunch stuck between their teeth do you say something or do you keep quiet?

    6. What movie always makes you cry?  Or at least makes you feel like crying?

    7.   'Mary Had a Little Lamb' was written in May of 1830, and published in Juvenile Miscellany in September of that same year.  Now for the fun part...create your own four line rhyme using that same tune.

    8.  Insert your own random thought here.