Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 192

Welcome to another edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer the questions on your own blog,  then scoot back here tomorrow and read what the rest of the world is saying. Maybe not the whole world, more like our little corner, but still a fun way to spend your Wednesday. 

1. Are the leaves turning color where you live? Have they begun to fall? Will you have to rake when it's all said and done? Is that a chore you love or loathe?

2. When did you last shake like a leaf?

3. After 20 seasons with the NY Yankees, Derek Jeter played his last official game Sunday afternoon. Jeter has been described even by opponents as a 'class act', both on and off the field. The NFL is back in action this month too, with several players in that sport also making headlines. What are your thoughts on athletes as role models? Should a professional athlete be expected to act as role model or is that going beyond their job description? What responsibility do the organizations these athletes work for have when it comes to dealing with off the field behavior? Discuss.

4. What season of the year is toughest for you in terms of your health? Why?

5. The top six healthy food trends of 2014 according to Eating Well are-

clean eating (more veg, less meat, less sodium, limit alcohol and processed foods)
trash fish (you know those fish that get caught in fishermen nets and are thrown back? It seems chefs are finding creative ways to make them more appetizing)
cauliflower (this year's IT vegetable)
kaniwa (essentially baby quinoa, so like quinoa only smaller)
fermentation (think pickling except with twists on flavor we're not accustomed to)
community supported food (farms operating with community support/membership).

Okay-so how many of the hot healthy food trends for 2014 have you experienced, encountered, enjoyed? Any you've tried and said ewwww? Any on the list you'd like to try before year's end?

6. In seven words or less, bid September adieu.

7. What's something on your October calendar that makes you happy just thinking about it?

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, September 29, 2014


We had a nice weekend, filled with bright blue skies, Indian summer temps, and nothing special on the calendar.  We need those weekends round here.  We had dinner with neighbors on Friday evening, hung out at the rodeo on Saturday, napped on the couch, watched football and golf, read books and soaked up the beauty that surrounds us always, but never more so than on a crystal clear autumn day.

Fall is showing up little by little in our corner of the world, or maybe leaf by leaf would be a more accurate description. There's a tree on our back hillside I will photograph no less than fifty times  between now and winter because it is perfection.

As is the brilliant blue cloudless sky.

Sunday evening after dinner was eaten and dishes were washed, hubs and I sat on the patio and admired what we've affectionately dubbed our 'Festivus Tree'. It's a shepherds crook made for hanging plants that hubs wrapped in Christmas lights, and we agree it's one of the happiest things around.

Seriously, every patio needs one.

We sipped coffee and listened to a playlist scroll through a random selection of songs. We sang along and talked about how each one that popped up took us somewhere in time, geography, and memory.

When fall rolls in its not only the leaves that change. It's the light and the air and the way my heart feels more reflective.  Hubs says I think too much, and maybe he's right, but it seems this time of year is made for contemplation.  Maybe it's because school begins here in September, but as the month draws to a close I realize I have always viewed this month as a new beginning, much more so than January.

In September I set goals, feel the urge to clean my house, and make attempts at organizing paperwork, files, and desk drawers.

In September I look through recipe books for fresh cooking inspiration.

I make lists of books to read, movies we've missed, what I'll buy-make-bake for Christmas.

I schedule routine home repairs and maintenance.

In September I tell myself this will be the winter I'll actually catch up on my scrapbooks, and with a new found enthusiasm I'll go buy pretty paper and stickers and embellishments. I will tuck these away with the rest of the pretty paper and stickers and embellishments collected in Septembers past, ready for when winter rolls our way.


September is when some of my good intentions become reality and others not so much, but it is the month I give myself a talking to, the month I declare my good intentions about a lot of things.

In September I make sure I'm caught up with the dentist, dermatologist, and all the other various and sundry doctors one must be caught up with once one has passed the 50 mile mark.

These are not things I want to do in January.

In January I prefer to curl up on the couch with a blanket while snow piles up outside.

Except this January I'd like the snow to come in February because we have a wedding to celebrate in January. While snow makes for lovely photos the same cannot be said about snow and travel.

Course we won't think about that today because we can't control the weather three months from now, and I'm sure that's a good thing. What I can do on an end of September autumn day is grab my camera. I can take a picture of leaves that turn from green to golden yellow before my very eyes, a reminder God is in the details.

And really, that's enough.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

100 Days

I came across this photo recently and today feels like the right day to post it here. That's my Daughter1 on the left, age 1 year almost to the day, and her cousin on the right, age 2. This picture was taken on the morning of my brother's wedding, a pretty June day some 25 years ago. 

Two small precious girls dressed in eyelet and lace, standing in my parent's front yard. 

In 100 days I will once again help my first born baby girl into a white dress, help make her ready for a wedding, this time her own.

In 100 days her cousin will stand much as she stands here, hands clasped tightly round blooms of winter white.

In 100 days this child who made me a mother will take her father's arm for a walk down the aisle to her beloved groom and waiting future.

In 100 days I will hold my husbands hand and we'll watch our girl stand before God and her great big family, and her new one too, with friends who will travel from all corners of the globe, as she and her boy make promises for keeps.

In 100 days our family grows as a notch is marked in the timeline of us.

In 100 days love is multiplied. Expanded. Celebrated.

In 100 days I will remember the newborn baby put into my arms on a warm June day. The toddler who loved her blanket and her thumb. The ballerina with the delicate neck and toes en pointe. The pony- tailed girl in dress ups. The twelve year old who never wanted to say goodbye to the ocean or to anything or anybody. The teenager navigating the streets of London. The college student on the other side of the pond. The grown up girl figuring out the grown up world.

In 100 days I will feel all the feels and cry happy tears and know that all of the minutes and the hours and the days til here have made her ready for the now.

In 100 days that soft sweet girl in the eyelet dress begins a new chapter in the story of her life.

"Oh magnify the Lord with me. Come let us exalt His name together." Psalm 34:3

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Falling for the Hodgepodge

Welcome to the Wednesday Hodgepodge! Everyone is welcome to play along, just answer the questions on your own blog, then add your link to the party. Here are my answers to this week's questions-

1. It's fall. Y'all. My favorite season of the year! What's something you love to do this time of year that makes you feel it's officially fall? And unrelated to that, do you ever say 'y'all'?

I love a trip to the apple orchard this time of year. A sunny day, bright blue skies, wide open spaces, and trees loaded with apples. 

We can pretty much get any kind of fruit we want year round in the year 2014, but I rarely eat an apple in the summer.  There are so many wonderful local summer fruits available I tend to save my apple eating for the fall and winter months.  

Do I say y'all? Y'all already know the answer to that. 

2. When did you last have a falling out with someone? Has it been resolved?

A falling out is defined as a fight leading to separation. I'm not a fighter, so a falling out would be a very rare thing. I suppose I have something in mind that might fall under the loose heading of a 'falling out', but it's all water under the bridge now. 

3. A song you love with the word 'fall' in its title?

Free Fallin' by Tom Petty. I won't go into the whys, but suffice it to say when I hear this song I am catapulted back to the days where my then teen age daughters would sit on the floor in our UK house, in a cozy little space tucked behind the stairs, and Daughter1 would play this song on her guitar, and Daughter2 would sing along.  The memory of music is a powerful thing. 

4. What's something you've recently let 'fall by the wayside'?

Is it awful to say housework? Because when I look around my house I'm thinking right now that answer works. A summer filled with lots of coming and going does not mesh well with daily dusting and vacuuming. 

Plus planning a wedding is way more fun than wiping baseboards, which is another reason I'm playing a little catch up around here now. 

5. When did you last attend an event, read a book, watch a movie, try a new recipe, or visit a shop-restaurant-tourist attraction that fell short of your expectations? In what way?

We haven't seen a lot of movies this summer, or come to think of it, any movies. I think the last movie that fell short of my expectation was American Hustle. So much hype, and I thought it was just eh. 

As far as books go, I did not love Gone Girl like so many apparently did. Again it was uber-hyped, and people who read it before me gave it rave reviews, so I was expecting to love it. I will say though, as I was reading I commented to a friend that I thought it might make a better movie than a book, and voila-the movie opens this weekend. I'll probably wait until it's available for rent to see it though. 

I recently made a chicken dish that I won't make again. It was given several stars on a recipe site I follow, so I expected great flavor, but hubs and I both thought it was blah. 

6. Describe a time you said or thought, 'The apple doesn't fall far from the tree."

I think and say it often about Daughter2 and myself. She and I look alike, we're both endearingly clumsy (I think it's endearing anyway), and we share a similar stubborn streak, which I will add is maybe not always as endearing as our lack of coordination-ha! 

7.  Was today better than yesterday? Why or why not?

In spite of our kitchen sink woes, yesterday was a pretty nice day. 

As is today. 

It's fall, y'all! And the weather is making me supremely happy. 

The plumber is here as I type, and apparently the clog in the pipe is not near the kitchen sink, which means this will not be a quick fix. Whoever built our house apparently held the philosophy of why run a little pipe when you can run a lot?  

Still, the weather y'all! It's hard to be irritated on a day like today, and I trust the plumber to figure out the sink mess because that's why they make the big bucks.  

Do they make big bucks? 

Sometimes it seems so, but when you've got a sink you can't unclog yourself it's all relative, right?

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Speaking of apple picking...hubs and I declared it fall and trekked out to a nearby orchard on Saturday. This is earlier than we normally go, but we were home for a change and the weather was cooperating, so off we went. I prefer apple picking in October because it's cooler and the leaves are turning, but it was still an enjoyable day.  

The scenery is gorgeous around this particular orchard, and now I have an enormous bag of apples waiting to be made into sauce, a Thanksgiving pie, and who knows what else.  Did I mention I love fall? Y'all?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 191

Here are the questions for this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog, then hop back here tomorrow to share answers and add your link to the party...see you there!

1. It's fall. Y'all. My favorite season of the year! What's something you love to do this time of year that makes you feel it's officially fall? And unrelated to that, do you ever say-'y'all'?

2. When did you last have a falling out with someone? Has it been resolved?

3. A song you love with the word 'fall' in it's title?

4. What's something you've recently let 'fall by the wayside?'

5. When did you last attend an event, read a book, watch a movie, try a new recipe, or visit a shop-town-tourist attraction that fell short of your expectations? In what way?

6. Describe a time you said or thought, 'The apple doesn't fall far from the tree."

7. Was today better than yesterday? Why or why not?

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Silver Linings

Good Morning Afternoon? It's Monday, a fact I am well aware of because life around here today is behaving like a Monday.  That being said, even on a day that feels like a Monday, and is in fact an actual Monday, I think it's good to find the silver lining.

Because there always is one.

That half full glass, the bright side, that thing cynics lack. Sometimes it smacks you in the face, and sometimes you have to look hard, but it's there. On this Monday that is full of small aggravations and problems of the first world kind, I choose to look-

It's Monday-Went to bed far too late last night because hubs and I got all caught up in finishing Season 1 of Homeland.

The Silver Lining-I still dragged myself out of bed and made it to Boot Camp at 6 AM.

It's Monday-We've got Homeland Season 2 on deck, Monday Night Football on live, and The Making of the DCC (don't judge!), The Roosevelts, and Person of Interest on our DVR. 

The Silver Lining-We are not going to get sucked in to the new Season of Homeland until the weekend. 

We're going to try not to anyway. 

It's Monday-Went to bed with a sudden and mysteriously clogged kitchen sink, and woke up to a still clogged kitchen sink. Ugh!

The Silver Lining-I popped down to the supermarket and the hardware store at 8 AM, bought Liquid Plumber (the JUMBO sized bottle) and a plunger, patted myself on the back for developing biceps and triceps in the last six months, and then I plunged and I poured and I plunged.

It's Monday-No luck. Did.not.budge. And now I'm feeling a little woozy from inhaling all those chemicals.

The Silver Lining- A real plumber is sometimes better than Liquid Plumber, and thankfully we have a local plumber we trust who will be out to save the day.

It's Monday-the day he's gonna save will be tomorrow not today, because I have now emptied half the contents of a jumbo sized bottle of the liquid variety plumber into my sink and it needs to dissipate.

The Silver Lining-just texted hubs and told him it looks like we'll be dining out tonight.

So how's your Monday so far? Can you see the silver lining or do you have to hunt for one today?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Life by Number

I saw a cute idea yesterday over on Christa's blog, which is appropriately entitled Forever Young. She wrote a post called My Life in Numbers, and while I'm more wordsmith than number cruncher, I thought it would be fun to play along. It's not often we put our life into number form, and since I'm a whole year older today (that happens overnight, right?) this seemed a good time to try.

Before I get to all those numbers, though how about a picture? That's me in the bottom right hand corner on my third birthday when big girl cousins rocked the pointy framed glasses and brothers wore belt buckles the size of NJ. Also, this confirms I have always loved coconut. And cake. And my birthday.

Now on with the numbers-

8-number of states I've lived in

15-number of cities I've lived in

2-number of countries I've lived in

100-number of miles from my closest family member

3-number of siblings I have

1-number of years older I am than my youngest sibling

7-number of years younger I am than my oldest sibling

2-number of children I have

4 (ish)-number of years I dated my husband before we tied the knot

30-number of years the knot has been tied

5-number of current magazine subscriptions

7-number of cars I've owned

65,000-population of the town I grew up in

19,000-population of the town I live in

9-number of different paying jobs I've had

30-number of years younger than my mom

30-number of years older than my youngest child

400-number of songs on my iPod

5-number of houses I've owned

1201-number of blog posts published as of now

382-number of days I am younger than my husband

10 PM-number on the clock at my normal bedtime

28-number of items completed on my 101 in 1001 list

36-number of years since my high school graduation

16-number of programs currently sitting in my DVR

2-number of times I've read the Bible from beginning to end

16-number of first cousins

807-number of photos in my iPhone camera roll

107-number of days until I become a mother-in-law

550-number of miles between home and college

15-number of books I've read so far this year

2-number of coffees in a day

4-number of pets I've owned

25-number of states I've visited

21-number of countries I've visited

20,000-number in miles I've traveled this year (or somewhere in that nearby ballpark)

Feel free to make your own list using these or any statements that work for you.  Let me know if you do, and I'll hop over and read your count. Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Young at Heart in the Hodgepodge

Welcome to this week's edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer the questions on your own blog then add your link at the end of my post.  Be sure to go say hi to all your friends and neighbors...or at least to the blogger who linked before you!

Here we go-

1.  I'm celebrating a birthday this week so a question relating to aging feels appropriate. Douglas MacArthur is quoted as saying, 'You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt;  as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair.' Would you agree? If not, why not?

Mostly I agree, certainly from the standpoint of mentally how old one feels. There are however, some physical changes that happen to our bodies as we age that all the faith, hope and self-confidence in the world can't prevent. That's when good habits, great genetics, and right eating and exercise matter.

2. What remarkable feat, interesting piece of trivia, or historical event occurred on your birth day and month? Not necessarily your same birthyear, just the same date/same month.

Our National Debt officially began on my birthdate back in 1789. Hey-you don't get to be seventeen trillion in the hole overnight-ha! Alexander Hamilton, then Sec of the Treasury, began negotiating a 'temporary' loan with one of the two existing banks in business back then. Coincidentally he helped found one of them, The Bank of NY. 

The deal went through in February of 1790, and the govt. successfully borrowed $19,608.81. Apparently we now pay that amount in interest about every 2.4 seconds. Boggles the mind, doesn't it? 

3. Describe a time or circumstance where you wanted to 'have your cake and eat it too.'

How about my birthday, when I'd literally love to have a great big piece of chocolate cake, but don't want the number on the scale to change? Is that even possible? I'll let ya know-ha! 

4. What's something you do that makes you feel young? Something that makes you feel old?

Young? Swimming makes me feel young, and carefree to boot, which is a bonus.
Old? Trying to read anything at all without my glasses on. Sigh. 

5. When did you last do something that was 'a piece of cake'?

I drove in and out of Philadelphia a couple of weekends ago, and that turned out to be a piece of cake. My mom and I went to an event at the Wells Fargo Center, and getting there and back, in and out, etc was so much simpler than I thought it would be.  You never know how Friday night city traffic is gonna roll, but we had no problems at all. 

6. Beef, wine, and cheese all improve with age. What else would you add to that list? (not necessarily food or beverage)

Blue jeans, oak trees, our little MG, and how comfortable I feel in my own skin. 

7. If I were to have a giveaway when we hit Volume 200 in the Hodgepodge, what should I give away? By my calculations we'll hit Volume 200 on November 26th, the day before Thanksgiving, which means whoever wins would have whatever it is by Christmas.

I'm curious to see how everyone answers this one. I have an idea of something I think would be fun, and reflective of the weekly Hodgepodge, but will wait to share until I see what you all have to say. 

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I was going to post a photo here, but the cord connector thingymabob on the computer appears to be stripped. It's been working a little hit or miss now for a while but I couldn't get it to connect at all today. Aarrgh! Technology! Now there's something that has the power to make me feel both old and young.  

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 190

190? Is that right? Apparently so. Whoohoo! Go us! Answer the questions on your own blog then scoot back here tomorrow to add you link to the party.  Who thinks we should have some sort of giveaway when we hit 200?

1. I'm celebrating a birthday this week so a question relating to aging feels appropriate. Douglas MacArthur is quoted as saying, 'You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair." Would you agree? If not why not?

2. What remarkable feat, interesting piece of trivia, or historical event occurred on your birth day and month? Not necessarily in your birthyear, just the same date/same month.

3. Describe a time or circumstance where you wanted to 'have your cake and eat it too.'

4. What's something you do that makes you feel young? Something that makes you feel old?

5. When did you last do something that was 'a piece of cake'?

6.  Beef, wine, and cheese all improve with age. What's something else you'd add to that list? (not necessarily food or beverage) 

7. If I were to have a giveaway when we hit Volume 200, what should I give away? By my calculations we'll hit Volume 200 on November 26th, the day before Thanksgiving, which means whoever wins would have whatever it is in time for Christmas.  

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, September 15, 2014


Some Fridays I participate in a little writing prompt called 'Five Minute Friday' which is now hosted over on the Heading Home blog. The way it works is you're given a one word prompt, you tell your inner critic to hush, and then you write for five minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word. I didn't participate  last week because I had an early appointment, and then the day kind of rolled on from there.  In other words, I wasn't ready.

Coincidentally the prompt on Friday was this word-ready.
Ironic, yes?

I thought I'd chime in on it here today because I've been thinking about that word quite a lot lately, particularly as it relates to my daughter who is getting married in a little less than four months.  Is she ready? Have I done my job as a mother to make her ready?

I read a quote a while back that said-

 'It's a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you're ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now.'  

Not sure I agree with this in it's entirety, but I would say there's at least a kernel of truth in that statement. When I tell people my daughter is getting married they often ask her age, and then proceed to make a judgement call-too old? too young? We all do it, we all have some notion of what the magic age should be to get it just right. She's 26. From where I sit that sounds delightfully young, but in terms of how old is too young to get married, it's not so young.

She's been out of college in the grown up world of work for four years now, living several states away, paying her own bills, managing all the many areas of life that require managing, and doing a great job of it I might add.  So she is officially an adult, not just in years but in maturity.

Is she ready to get married? Is marriage something you can be fully ready for? Isn't marriage a bit of a learn as you go proposition? Ha! Truth y'all.

I don't mean to imply we go in blind, because that's no good. When I look at my daughter I see someone who is confident and comfortable in her own skin. She is not looking for her fiance to define her, entertain her, fix her.  She has a tender heart, a gentle disposition, and a passion for the people who cross her path. She knows how to compromise, fight fair, and is secure in the knowledge that God has a plan for her life.

Does that make her ready for marriage? Or does it simply mean she is ready for what marriage may bring? Because in my mind that's the important thing. And in my experience marriage is full of surprises, only some of which are the good kind. You discover things about a person you didn't know were there, and I'm not talking about in our spouses, although there is that. I'm talking about in our very own selves. Marriage shines a light on the best and worst parts of who we are and sometimes we're not ready for that.

Have I as a mother helped make my daughter ready for married life? I hope so. I pray that is so. I've set an example as a wife which statistics show she will likely follow, for better or worse. My daughter and I had a conversation recently where I was trying to get her to see something in another way. It was a little tense, and later when I thought about it I realized I was trying to get her to learn a lesson I'd learned through years of living. I felt like God was telling me to hush (It took me a minute. Or two)...that I have got to let Him write her story, the one with her name on it, not mine.

I ain't gonna lie...as a mother that's not such an easy thing to do. We know our children intimately, and we think we know what they need now and forever and ever amen. We're older, wiser (sorry kids!) and we've learned a few things the hard way. We look back at our own married life and see things we wish we'd handled with a different action, attitude, or tone of voice, and we know some of what will roll their way as the calendar turns from one anniversary to the next. We review our own marriage film loop and see the good and the hard, the mundane and the unpredictable. As a mother I sometimes want to steer my children around the tough stuff and let them wallow in the beautiful. But!...

There's always a but when I want my way about something. In looking back at my own married life I see so clearly how some of life's stresses and the seemingly hard things we experienced as a young couple were the very things God used to cement us as man and wife. The joys too, but it has been primarily in the shared making of tough decisions, big and little mistakes, and in forgiveness granted, that God has knit us together.

I think back to when I was 26 years young. We'd been married for two years, we'd just purchased our first home, I was working full time, we didn't really know what we were doing, but we were figuring it all out together.  And I was ready for that.

So is my girl.

Dear Darling Daughter1-

When I think about the early days of married life with Daddy I smile. He was just the hubs then, but that title Daddy was out there waiting for him. There is something so sacred about those early years. When you don't know what you don't know and you don't even care that you don't know it. You don't want someone to lay it all out there. You want to savor the now and imagine the future. To dream big dreams and chase them with all you have in you. And you should. Because you are ready. 


Friday, September 12, 2014

Feels Like Fall Fragments

I know it's not officially fall, but it sure feels like fall.


Sorry, but that word fits there, don't you think?

Autumn is my favorite season of the year. I think a combination of things makes it so...the cooler weather and breezy days, the late afternoon light, the way nature, like we humans, resists the initial change but eventually throws up her hands and dazzles us with color.

It's hard to put into words, but this time of year stirs up my emotions. It's a season made for outdoor fires and blue jeans. Hot tea in a warm mug. Contemplation and reflection. For looking backward and forward and right where you are.

Or maybe that's just me.

Friday fragments are full of fragments and also awkward topic changes.

We're a little late to the game, but hubs and I have recently started watching Homeland on DVD.  Daughter2 bought the first two seasons for hubs birthday, and I finally convinced him this week to unwrap the cellophane and hit play. He doesn't jump on the television bandwagon like most people do, doesn't want to sit for hours and watch an entire series, but we're all in now. It's a little eerie how similar the storyline is to the recent real life Bowe Bergdahl event. I don't know if the similarity will continue (no spoilers please!), but the early part of the plot is frighteningly similar. The first season of Homeland came out in 2012, so this was not a case of art imitating life.

I've been tagged a few times in the 'top ten book' thing that's been making its way round social media, and thought I might as well post my list here too. I don't know what the original instructions were, but here are mine-list ten books you've loved. Books that have meant something to you or books that made you think in a new way or those that touched your heart and soul. Books that have stayed with you.

I didn't think too deeply about my list. These are ten that came to mind, and as it happens about half the titles are books that were read to me as a child-

1.  Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
2.  Crow Boy by Taro Yashima
3.  The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
4.  Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
5.  Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
6.  Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
7.  Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
8.  My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers
9.  Life of Pi by Yann Martel
10.The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom

So what titles would make your list of top ten?

In other news, I'm breaking my firm no cooking on a Friday night rule, but I won't be cooking on Saturday night so it all comes out even in the end. That's another thing I love about autumn. I feel inspired to cook. With the gorgeous weather and a chill in the air, dinner at home on this Friday in September sounds cozy. Slow cooked BBQ'd boneless short ribs because I know someone will ask.

Half-Past Kissin' Time

Hop over to Half Past Kissin' Time to read more or to add your own fragments while it's still Friday. Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Happy Hodgepodge!

It's a big day in the Wednesday Hodgepodge. My Daughter2 is havin' a birthday so whoohoo! Happy birthday to my baby girl. 20-somethings can so still be called your baby girl. No matter what's on the news, my calendar, or my mind, I feel easy breezy light and happy on this day in September, because she makes it so.  

Now on to the Hodgepodge...

1. On Thursday we pause to remember a dark day in history-9/11. Will you mark it in some special way?

We live in what is technically considered a suburb of NYC, so there are quite often reminders of the day as you go about ordinary life here, even on days that are not marked as an anniversary. We'll fly our flag. I'll include families, our servicemen and women, law enforcement and rescue workers in my prayers specifically.  I'll remember where I was and how I felt when I heard the news because it's hard not to remember and feel.  I will hold tight to the promises in God's word.  

2. Do you ever/still...listen to an actual radio? Watch a videotape (VCR)? Look up a number in a telephone book? Refer to an actual paper map while traveling? Set an alarm on an alarm clock as opposed to your phone?

We have a nice Bose radio in our bedroom that I listen to sometimes when I'm doing housework upstairs. I listen to the radio in my car too. I like radio. 

We still have most of our old home movies on VHS so yes, we still occasionally watch the VCR. I'm supposed to be transferring those to DVD and this question reminded me of that to-do. 

I never use an actual phone book anymore. We get several and they take up space in a kitchen desk drawer, and then new ones come and I switch them out and don't open those either. I think this should be an item we have to request.  Seems like a gargantuan waste of $$$ in 2014. 

We mostly use the GPS, but we do have an actual paper atlas in our car, and have referred to it recently.  Sometimes you just need to see the whole route displayed, and figure out what your options are. 

Hubs sets the alarm clock on the above mentioned radio to get himself up in the morning, and on boot camp days I set my phone alarm since that's earlier than he needs to be up.  Other days I don't set an alarm. I'm an empty nester, remember? 

3. Is it ever a good idea to discuss religion and politics with people you don't know?

Never say never. 
I think it depends on the gathering. 

4. What's a dish you haven't eaten all summer, but come September find yourself craving? Have you made it yet this month?

Chili.  I never make or eat chili in the summertime, but come September and football season and the slow fade to fall, I crave chili. Haven't made it yet, but I will before September is over. 

5. What's something you know nothing about?

Well that's a long list. One thing? How 'bout three off the top of my head-

The history of Micronesia
the inner workings of a rocket-submarine-jet propulsion engine

6. September is Classical Music Month? Do you like classical music? If so, what's your favorite piece?

I do like classical music, and think it's suited to some occasions more so than others. Beethoven's Ode to Joy  makes me think of Daughter1 on the violin, Daughter2 on the piano, me in the kitchen making dinner. Sweet moments in the middle of long ago busy days.

I love the ballet and so do my girls, so The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky is another favorite. I also love Vivaldi's Four Seasons because it's beautiful. And these days I'm kind of partial to Trumpet Voluntary by Henry Purcell. I walked down the aisle to that one thirty years ago, and think my Daughter1 is considering doing the same. 

7. What's the oldest thing you own?

We have some antiques so in age they're oldest, specifically our clock.  These are not things we've owned the longest, but in terms of their actual age they would be the oldest items in our home. 

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Today my baby girl celebrates a birthday.

Okay, so she's turning 24, but let's pretend she's still this rosy cheeked, wide eyed bundle of adrenaline, with a will of iron and a face full of adorableness.  

Because really, she is.  Oh sure she's grown up in all the ways babies do, but on the inside? She is still this blue eyed beauty who stares back at her momma daring me not to fall head over heels in love. Still so full of confidence, passion, and wit. That will of iron has been forged into the most incredible sense of self-discipline, one I wish I had myself.  

She's still my girl who has always lived large, and is possibly the reason my roots need a professional. Still with those enormous blue eyes and a smile that lights up a classroom, my heart, the world.

A while back she started a blog, but has put it on hold for a while. She's got a brand new dog and a brand new classroom, which feels like a lot just now BUT!...her blog is still up, and I would love for you to hop over there today and flood her comments section with happy birthday wishes.  Here's the link-

Happy Birthday Daughter2!

Being your momma is an honor and a privilege, sometimes an adventure, but always always the great joy of my life.  

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 189

Here are the questions to this week's Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog then skip back here tomorrow to add your link to the party.  See you there!

1. On Thursday we pause to remember a dark day in history-9/11. Will you mark it in some special way?

2. Do you ever/still...listen to an actual radio? Watch a videotape (VCR)? Look up a number in a phonebook? Refer to a paper map while traveling? Set an alarm on an alarm clock as opposed to your phone?

3.  Is it ever a good idea to discuss religion or politics with people you don't know?

4. What's a dish you haven't eaten all summer, but come September find yourself craving? Have you made it yet this month?

5. What's something you know nothing about?

6. September is Classical Music Month. Do you like classical music? If so, what's your favorite piece?

7. What's the oldest thing you own?

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Weekend

Since the end of July I have been home exactly 14 days. Not 14 days in a row, but 14 days scattered here and there amongst the 39 my calendar says have passed. You could write your name in the dust on my dining room table.

But! I am home all week and I am happy. And there will be dusting happening round here so whoohoo!

These past few days have been a bit of a blur between the wedding dress adventure and then attending Women of Faith all weekend with my mom. All I can say about both is wow. WOW!

Actually, that's not all I can say because why use one word when you can use two hundred  ten?

Have you ever attended a Women of Faith event? This was my first time, and I absolutely loved it. My mom and I went to the one in the city of Brotherly Love, aka Philadelphia. I'd given my mom the tickets as a Christmas present last year, and it was especially nice having her there with me.

I was familiar going in with most of the speakers, but not all, and I was definitely already a fan of the musicians on the roster. Natalie Grant performed Friday night, and Matthew West on Saturday afternoon, and they were both better than awe.some. I bought five Cd's if that tells you anything.

Yes I still play Cd's, especially in my car where I can play them loud.

My girls are smiling at that last line. They've been jolted out of their skin a time or two upon getting into my car. What can I say? Some music is meant to be played loudly and sung at the top of your lungs in the privacy of your own vehicle.

All the speakers were terrific, but the one who really made me squirm so to speak, was Christine Caine. I wasn't familiar with her story going in, but she is a truly dynamic speaker who made me feel like I needed to leave there immediately and get busy doing. We talk a lot about retirement in our house and what that will look like. One of the things she said in her message was that God didn't create us to retire. He created us to keep going forward, growing, learning, expanding His kingdom. I'm gonna have to let hubs know-ha!

I bought her book, Unstoppable: Running the Race You Were Born to Win, and it is speaking to me right where I am in this slightly confusing, middle age-empty nest-what's next, season of life.

Pete Wilson, pastor of Cross Point Church in Nashville, gave an excellent message on the life of Joseph and how would we respond to life's hard, seemingly unfair circumstances if we lived completely confident in the knowledge that God has a plan? I made a point of meeting him afterwards and got him to sign a copy of his book for me, Plan B.

When I first started my blog back in 2009 I had no idea what I was doing. I was living in England, preparing for a big move back to the states, and I just had so many words in my head that my husband said I really should be blogging. I had only a vague notion of what a blog was, and I guess I never imagined anyone actually reading what I wrote. And if by chance someone did read my words, was I ready for that? To be real and vulnerable the way I think the best writers are? Somehow Pete Wilson landed on my blog in those very early days, and he left me a very encouraging comment about my writing at a time when I was still on the fence about this whole blog thing. I so appreciated that and others who were kind too, when my blog was in its infancy.

It's often the little things, isn't it?

I feel like my mind and my heart are so full today. I'm glad I have some less busy days at home right now so I can mull it all over. Hubs is happy to have me home too.

We had a really wonderful day yesterday watching the Jets beat the Raiders on a gloriously blue sky Sunday afternoon. That 9/11 flag rolled out for all the world to see still does me in.

So what's on your calendar this second week of September? My baby has a birthday this week. She's turning 24, but neveryoumind. She will always be my baby. Happy Monday everyone!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Birthdays, Boating, and Brides Friday Fragment Style

So this happened.

Last weekend, but who's counting? 

Hubs celebrated the turning of a calendar page in his favorite place-

A boat on the water. And when the boat belongs to family you've got icing on the proverbial cake.  Add a daughter to the weekend and life is pretty close to perfect. Two daughters there would have made it so, but we had to settle for almost perfect. 

We did have a nephew on board and he knows how to throw it down. 

We enjoyed sunny afternoons on Paradise Island. 

The raft, not the Bahamas. 
Just as nice. 

We had dinner on the marina pool deck Saturday night. 
The view was free. 

We watched amazing storm clouds bubble and roll late Sunday evening. 

They gave way to spectacular summer weather on Labor Day, marking the end of a fabulous weekend.

I was home for a day, then made my way to D.C. via my mom's in South Jersey, because we had important business to conduct.

Seeing the bride-to-be in her wedding dress.
First official try-on.
Be still my heart.

As you might imagine I have more to say about that, but those thoughts are not fragmented at all, so I'm going to save them for another day.  When I have more time and my hair's not crazy and I haven't been in five states and back again in a three day time period.

My mom and I trekked back to her house in South Jersey on Thursday because we're off to the Women of Faith conference in Philadelphia tonight and tomorrow. Hubs is home minding the store.

I got the tickets for my mom as a Christmas gift last year, and we're so excited. We've never attended a Women of Faith event, but I've heard such wonderful things about them, and the speaker/music line up is awesome.

So what's been keeping you busy? Why not join the party and share your weekend plans, fragment style, over at Half Past Kissin' Time today?  Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Hodgepodge Old School Style

With the back to school theme happening here today I feel like I should begin by saying good morning boys and girls! Be sure to add your link at the end of my post then go see what your classmates had to say.  Here we go-

1. What's something you wanted to do this summer that you never got around to actually doing?

Go to the drive-in.  It's not too late so we'll see if that's something we can squeeze in before winter makes an appearance. 

2. Share a memory of your own back-to-school days as a child.

I remember always having a brand new dress to wear and how nervous excited I felt the night before the first day. I was happy to share a room with my sister then. We didn't find out who our teacher would be until we got to school that morning.  They grouped us by grade and teachers read out their rosters while we students sat on pins and needles hoping a nice one would call our name.  

3. What's one chore or daily task you prefer doing 'old-school'?

A few things, all involving pen and paper. I keep a paper calendar, write in an actual journal, number my daily to-do's on cute notepads, and make grocery lists on the back of an envelope instead of on my phone. I do keep notes on my phone, but mostly forget to look there after I've written them down. I'm much more efficient and productive with a notepad. 

4. Share something you've learned in life through the 'school of hard knocks'.

Cliches are cliches for a reason...

Life is short.
Don't sweat the small stuff.

5. As a child did you mostly bring or buy your lunch for school? What was your favorite thing to find in your lunchbox?

During my elementary school years we walked home for lunch every day. Even in Jr. High and High School I still mostly brought lunch from home. My sister and I were just talking about lunchbox treats this past weekend. Our favorite was a RingDing, a round chocolate cake wrapped in foil. It was filled with a yummy cream filling (all natural I'm sure-ha!) and covered with a thin chocolate shell. 

6. Football season is upon us which has me wondering...how big of a sports fan are you (not just football)? On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being 'I scream at the players through my television screen', and 1 being 'is knitting a sport?', where do you fall in fandom.

I'm a pretty big fan. I don't yell at my television screen, but when my team is performing badly I sometimes have to leave the room to calm the nerves in my stomach.  I'm going with an 8, because if I miss a game it's not the end of the world, but if I'm watching I'm all in, no matter if it's the NFL or our local high school team on the field. 

7. Share a favorite quote you think my inspire students of all ages at the start of a new school year.

"What one does is what counts and not what one had the intention of doing." Pablo Picasso

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I stopped in a nearby shop for a look-see last week, and ended up buying my mother-of-the-bride dress. I wasn't really planning to buy, but I fell in love with this dress which felt like it was made just for me. 

It is nothing like I thought I'd wear. 

I thought I'd wear short. 
It's long. 

I thought I'd wear a light golden champagne color.
It's a rich bronze. 

I say I'm not really a 'bling' girl.
It's got a bit of the bling. 

And on the very day I bought my dress, Daughter1's gown arrived in the D.C. shop. My mom and I are going down today to meet her for the big try-on. We are so excited! 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 188

Another weekend away, another week of questions on the run. But they're up and that's what matters, right?  Answer on your own blog then hop back here tomorrow to share your answers with the class.  See you there!

1.  What's something you wanted to do this summer that you never got around to actually doing?

2. Share a favorite memory of your own back -to-school days as a child.

3.  What's one chore or daily task you prefer doing 'old-school' ?

4.  Share something you've learned in life through the 'school of hard knocks'.

5.  As a child, did you mostly bring or buy your lunch for school? What was your favorite thing to find in your lunchbox?

6. Football season is upon us which has me wondering... how big of a sports fan are you (not just football) ? On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being 'I scream at the players through my television screen' and 1 being 'is knitting a sport?' where do you fall in fandom? 

7. Share a favorite quote you think might inspire students of all ages at the start of a new school year. 

8. Insert your own random thought here.