Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 295

Here are the questions for this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog, then hop back here tomorrow to share answers with the universe. See you there!


1. Can you believe it's the end of January? What was the best day of January 2017 for you, and why?

2. What sounds make up the background noise in your life?

3. I read on the Power of Positivity website a list of ten things to drop from your life right now. They are-

anger outbursts, people who put you down, regret, negative self talk, being a people pleaser, the notion you need to be perfect, the past (but keep the lessons learned!), gossip and judgment, comparing yourself to others, and the word hate (focus on what you love instead)

Which thing on the list do you most need to drop? Are you trying or will you try?

4. What is sacred to you?

5. January is National Oatmeal month. Are you a fan, and if so how do you like it?

6. What feelings does twilight stir up in you?

7. Something you're looking forward to next month?

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Antigua

I started to recap the craziness that was my January, but it was almost too ridiculous for words so how 'bout we go back to the islands instead?


We spent a few days with a handful of hubs colleagues on the island of Antigua, and it was fabulous. FABULOUS! I love the Caribbean, but this was my first trip to this particular island and I loved it. We stayed in a smaller resort that was super chill and crazy beautiful.


I've always wanted to stay in my own little beach cottage with doors opening up to views of the sea, and ours even had mosquito netting over the bed if you wanted to leave those doors open all night long.



We like air conditioning and also there were some critters larger than a mosquito roaming around the island, and since I wasn't too keen on uninvited nighttime guests we slept with the doors closed. Think mongoose, which apparently eat snakes so no snakes, but still...mongoose. Mongeese? Mongooses? Mongi? Whatever they look a little like a meerkat and are not something I welcomed in my little pink house.



Our little cottage was perfect. As I mentioned it was PINK and we faced Montserrat, which is an active volcano in the Caribbean about 34 miles from our island. Actually Montserrat was smoking, but I just swam in the sea and read my books and sipped a coconut crush without giving that volcano too much thought.


One couple in our group were out and about on excursions around the island nearly every day, but the rest of us designed our own daily excursions.


Our excursions consisted of a leisurely breakfast in the on-site outdoor restaurant, then a short stroll to the beach where we set up in comfy chairs for the duration of the morning.


Then it was back to the restaurant for lunch because you know time flies and all that.



After lunch we relocated to the infinity pool, also beside the sea, and there we remained until the sun set spectacularly before our eyes at about 6 PM every night.





Once the sun dropped we'd all get showered and changed for dinner and meet back at the restaurant. As an aside, the food was delicious. Sometimes the food at an all-inclusive can feel a bit institutional, but this was wonderful and I think being a smaller resort helped.


After dinner we'd meander under the stars back to our own cozy cottages, climb in under the mosquito netting, and sleep like babies until it was time to get up and do it all again the next day. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. It's my favorite thing.


The weather was perfection, bright sun all day every day, but only about 79 or 80 and with a soft breeze blowing that made it just about the nicest setting we could have asked for. We did rent jetskis one morning and even though I'm pretty sure the last time I was on a jetski with hubs I said I'd never get on the back of another jetski with him I did get on the back of another jetski with him.


The other guys driving all shared the same adrenaline so we agreed we'd take a fast ride and then they could drop us on the beach and have the last few minutes to do all the dipping and spinning and nonsense they wanted. We went out around the island a bit and it was a lot of fun to see the landscape, beach homes, and some truly gorgeous boats.


I'd only met one other person in our group prior to the trip, but we all just clicked and had a marvelous time together. I'm not posting any up close people pics here because not everybody wants to be on a blog in their swim suit, moi included.

It was a magical little getaway and hubs and I have decided we need an island holiday every January. Or February?


Or maybe both?

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

A Sandsational Hodgepodge

Welcome to the Wednesday Hodgepodge. So glad you've joined us this week. For those of you who are new, answer the questions on your own blog, then add your link at the end of my post. Before you run off, leave a comment for the blogger before you because comments make the world go round.


1."The cure for anything is salt water-tears, sweat, or the sea." (Isak Dinesan) Would you agree? Of the three, which has 'cured' you most recently?

Agreed. I cry easily and there have been many times a good cry has made me feel better. It's a release of pent up emotion and I have a tendency towards penting up, so crying can be a good thing. 

If I'm feeling angry about some little something then a good long walk or swim definitely helps take the edge off. I'm not sure if it's the sweating or the thinking I do while sweating, but either way exercise helps.  

And the sea. Well of course. Is anyone going to tell me they don't feel better about life while sitting beside the sea? Of the three, most recently the sea has cured what ailed me. 

2. What's something you can't eat without salt? Do you normally salt your food a lot, a little, or not at all?

I guess there's nothing I can't eat without salt, but there are definitely two or three foods I think need salt. Mashed potatoes for sure, and a plate of home grown sliced tomatoes are both much improved with a little salt.  

I don't add salt to my food, and we don't keep a salt shaker on the table. I salt less and less as I'm cooking these days, but if a recipe calls for salt I make an assessment as to whether its critical to the dish or not. I dislike overly salted foods and assume people can add salt if they want. I use a lot of seasonings other than salt, because I also don't like my food to be bland. 

3. Sands of time, bury your head in the sand, built on sand, or draw a line in the sand...which sandy phrase could best be applied to something in your life right now? 

I've been home exactly six days this month so sands of time is probably most applicable. What day is it again? 

4. A favorite book, movie, or song with an island setting or theme?

Anne of Green Gables is my favorite book and takes place on Prince Edward Island so I'll go with that. Another island favorite would be Bill Bryson's Notes From a Small Island. His book is set in Great Britain, which we sometimes forget is an island. 

Castaway is probably my favorite island movie, but I like Couples Retreat a lot too. 

As far as songs go? Barbados by Poco. 

5. Yesterday-did you run your day or did it run you? How so?

I'm answering these questions on Tuesday evening, which means yesterday was Monday. I was at the mercy of the airlines on Monday flying from Antigua to Miami and finally to Charlotte NC landing there at midnight. We spent the night in Charlotte before driving home today so I'd say my day ran me.

6. You're on an island holiday. Will I most likely find you parked in a beach chair, shopping in town, on the back of a jet ski, or snorkeling off the back of a catamaran?

Parked in a beach chair with a stack of books. Mostly. I was on the back of a jet ski last week and I love to swim so spend a lot of time in the water too. 

7. What do you think we humans most take for granted?

Time, mainly that we'll always have later, tomorrow, next week...

Several things have happened in recent months that remind me life is unpredictable and we need to love our people well right now. 

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Best random ever right here...I'm going to be a grandmother! Daughter1 and her hubby are having a baby this summer! We are over the moon and I'm sure to be talking about it way too much here on the blog, but I'm going to be a grandmother! 

I really want to write that in all caps. 


In my head it's all caps. 



Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 294

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



1. "The cure for anything is salt water-tears, sweat, or the sea." (Isak Dinesan) Would you agree? Of the three, which has 'cured' you most recently? 

2. What's something you can't eat without salt? Do you normally salt your food a lot, a little, or not at all? 

3. Sands of time, bury your head in the sand, built on sand, or draw a line in the sand...which sandy phrase could best be applied to something in your life right now? 

4. A favorite book, movie, or song with an island setting or theme? 

5. Yesterday-did you run your day or did it run you? How so? 

6. You're on an island holiday. Will I most likely find you parked in a beach chair, shopping in town, on the back of a jet ski, or snorkeling off the back of a catamaran? 

7. What do you think we humans most take for granted?

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Willy Nilly Silly Old Hodgepodge

Welcome to the Wednesday Hodgepodge! Can you believe it's the middle of January? If you've played along today add your link at the end of my post. Hodgepodge links only here on Wednesdays please! And be sure you leave a comment for the blogger before you because that's what good neighbors do. Here we go-


1. ASAP typically stands for 'as soon as possible'. What else could it stand for in your life right now?

Always Seems we Are Packing? 

2. Are you the last person to speak up in a group or the first to have an idea? Why do you suppose that is? Is it a good thing or no?

I'm probably too often the first to speak up. Why? I'm kind of a take charge person, some might say bossy, but I will stick with take charge because that sounds nicer. Is it a good thing? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. I hate being in a group where no one takes charge, but I don't always need to be so quick to jump in either. It's a fine line and I'm working on it. 

3. What do you remember best about being 12?

I was in the 6th grade and back then 6th grade was the last year of elementary school. In other words 6th graders ruled the world, or at least it felt that way. I remember running around the neighborhood with my friends, hanging out at the Duck Pond, walking to and from school, skating at the roller rink which in hindsight was kinda sketchy but we loved it, BOYS!, riding our bikes to the pool, that sort of thing. I also recall spending a week with the entire sixth grade at an environmental camp which is where I heard my teacher swear after she drank from a cup another student had put soap in. That I remember, because it was shocking. 

4. January 18th is National Winnie the Pooh Day. Which character do you relate to the most, and why? If you're stumped go here for inspiration.

I loooove Eeyore. I am not an Eeyore but I love him. The quiz said I'm most like Kanga and I'm okay with that. The description said 'caring and supportive, more adventurous than people realize, up for anything reasonably safe and somewhat sane, and a protector especially as a parent'. Sounds pretty accurate for an online quiz. 

5. What's an app you use that helps simplify or make life easier for you in some way?

I love Map My Walk. It records routes, distance, pace, elevation, and calories burned although I always feel technology overstates that last bit. I can add a playlist too and I like music when I walk so I use that feature a lot. Other favorites would be Goodreads for keeping track of what I've read, want to read, and what others are reading, Pinterest because it's my go-to place for saving all the online things I want to save, and Restaurant Finder which is handy when you're in a new city and are looking for a nearby place to eat. 

6. San Francisco (CA), San Diego (CA), San Juan (PR) San Antonio (TX) Sanibel (FL)...you have an all expenses paid long weekend to one of these destinations. Which one do you choose and why?

I was just in San Francisco and as much as I'd love to see San Diego the thought of another cross country trek just now is not that appealing. Today I'd choose Sanibel because it's a short plane ride away and a weekend at the beach is never a bad idea. 

7. Share with us a song that makes you feel nostalgic? For what?

Lots of songs make me feel nostalgic for various seasons of my life, but I'll go with the first thing that popped into my head-White Flag by Dido. Not what you were expecting is it? 

The song was released just as we were moving to the UK, same month in fact, and they (over)played it all.the.time there. In fact hubs couldn't stand it back then, but here in America on a random Tuesday when it catches you unawares? Well, we are taken back to a place in time, to that first year in England with all it's highs and lows, and we feel all mushy inside. Nostalgic. 

8. Insert your own random thought here.

We left the rain and chilly temps in California and woke up Sunday morning to 70 degree weather on the lake. 


My daughter2 teaches school and had snow days Monday and Tuesday, a delayed opening on Wednesday, and then on Friday was out walking her dog in shorts and a t-shirt. I love winter in the south. 

Sunday was so nice in fact, that friends of ours put their boat their boat in the water and took us for a ride, and it was glorious. 


 Everyone agreed. 



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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 293

Hello Hodgepodgers and welcome back! Not sure if I'm coming or going this month (mostly both!) but I'm here today with this week's questions. Answer on your own blog, then fly back here tomorrow to add your link to the party. Here we go-


1. ASAP typically stands for 'as soon as possible'. What else could it stand for in your life right now? 

2. Are you the last person to speak up in a group or the first to have an idea? Why do you suppose that is? Is it a good thing or no?

3. What do you remember best about being 12? 

4. January 18th is National Winnie the Pooh Day. Which character do you relate to the most, and why? If you're stumped go here for inspiration. 

5. What's an app you use that helps simplify or make life easier for you in some way? 

6. San Francisco (CA), San Diego (CA), San Juan (PR) San Antonio (TX) Sanibel (FL)...you have an all expenses paid long weekend to one of these destinations. Which one do you choose and why?

7. Share with us a song that makes you feel nostalgic? For what? 

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

West Coast Wanderings

Where were we? Oh yeah-everywhere. 

Or maybe it just felt that way? I know I travel a lot, but have I mentioned here I'm not a great traveler? Hubs is a great traveler and sometimes a great traveler traveling with a mediocre traveler is a test of how much you are loved.

A lot apparently.

Oh and guess what I'm doing again before a new month rolls in? Mostly I love to travel, except when I don't. When flights are delayed, then cancelled, when it rains buckets in a state where 'it never rains in California', when our luggage doesn't make the connection we ourselves had to run for...

As an aside, I've informed hubs I do not run in airports. It's a travel policy of mine, one of them anyway. Hubs says I have a whole handbook of travel policies, but tops on the list is I am not running in an airport. I will walk briskly and skip the restroom stop if I must, but I'm not running.

So where were we really? Mostly San Francisco, but we started our travels in Washington State because another rule I have is if we're going to be anywhere on the west coast we're either coming or going via Washington State. Daughter1 and her hubs did not get to come home for Christmas this year, and while I'd seen them back in October on my side trek from Arizona (hey I was already out west remember), hubs hadn't seen them since the end of July, and that's just way too long not to see your girl.


I will try not to blabber on about how beautiful the Seattle-Tacoma area is, how much I love Mt. Rainier, how tall the trees are and how expansive the Puget Sound, but y'all seriously this part of the country is stunning.


And very very far from the Eastern half of the U. S. of A.


We had a lovely few days walking in the woods, helping Daughter1 with some garage shelving and organizing, and eating lots of clam chowder in picturesque venues. We also took the newlyweds out to celebrate their second wedding anniversary which occurred the day before we arrived. Two years. Be still my heart.


Daughter1 dropped us at the airport on Sunday to catch our flight to San Francisco, but between the monsoon like rains in California and the snowy weather across the rest of the country we were delayed. Then delayed some more, and then some more, and then finally cancelled.

Hubs and I had a nice dinner in the hotel restaurant because what else are you going to do when your flight gets cancelled, and then finally made our flight to California the next afternoon. Not without more delays, but we did get there and I guess that's what counts. Actually I know that's what counts-ha!

We entered the hotel lobby and were immediately swept up in a literal sea of navy blue suits. The conference had taken over every hotel, Starbucks, suite, nook, and cranny in Union Square. It was a fantastic spot for people watching that's for sure!

Tuesday the weather was bordering on monsoon so I went with Plan B. I'm not a wimp about walking in the rain, but this was beyond rain. Umbrellas were inside out and the wind was whipping. Insanity! I walked a little more than half a mile in it and spent the rest of the day inside the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Question for you...who decides what is art? I was so missing my Daughters who can always be counted on to educate me as to why this is art-


It looks suspiciously like the light in our garage.

There was a whole lot I loved, particularly the William Kentridge Refusal of Time exhibit for anyone reading here who enjoys art and museums and is fascinated by the passing of time like me, and it was the perfect way to spend a rainy day in a new city.


Wednesday the sun peeked out, or rather the rain stayed mostly away so I hiked over to Chinatown while hubs worked, then later we Ubered out to the suburbs to catch up with some of our oldest and bestest friends.


It poured again on Thursday and it was cold too, so I read a book and napped while the guys worked and then on Friday the sun shone and it was glorious and we rambled around Napa all the day long.




Hmm...it appears this should have been three two posts, but in short (ha!) here's my take away from our ten days on the go-

The Evergreen State ranks right up there as one of the prettiest.


Washington is too far from South Carolina.


Old friends pick up right where they left off no matter the time or distance between them, and actually it does rain in California which means I need to go back to San Fran to see all the many things I missed, and also I wish I had an orange tree in my backyard.


Finally, when you get home at almost 2 am without your luggage, but then you wake up in your own bed and sip morning coffee on your dock in near 70 degree temps in the middle of January you will feel a little bit like Dorothy...


...there's no place like home.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

New Year, New Hodgepodge

Happy New Year! As a reminder there will not be a Wednesday Hodgepodge next week, January 11th. I've got a lot of travel on my January calendar and will need a breather right about then. We'll be back with a new edition the following week, January 18th. In the meantime, here we are. If you've answered today's questions add your link at the end of my post, then go say happy new year to your neighbor.


1. Share one favorite moment/memory from your Christmas holiday.

In recent years the candlelight Christmas Eve service has become my favorite part of the holiday. There is something so moving about a candlelit church filled with voices softly singing Silent Night. It really helps me put the whole holiday in perspective. 

2. What was the best thing you ate over the holidays? Was it homemade or store bought? If it was homemade did you make it?

How in the world do I choose? I ate far too many delicious somethings over the holidays. These candy cane snowball cookies are maybe my favorite sweet treat. I think. And  hubs cooked steaks in the new oven for our New Year's Eve meal and that was another favorite. Daughter2 baked the cookies and hubs cooked the steaks so yes, all homemade. 

3. What was one of the most beautiful things you saw over the holidays?

Sunrise in my own backyard two days before Christmas...


Sunrise is my favorite color.

4. What does fresh start mean to you?

A fresh start is a brand new heaping helping of hope, whether it's January 1st or just the beginning of a brand new day.  I think it's why I love the early morning. No mistakes yet, no words said that I'd like to unsay, no irritation or resentment over some little hurt,  just endless possibility and opportunity to be my best self. My favorite verse captures what fresh start means to me-

"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23 

5. On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being very positive and 1 being not so great) how would you rate 2016 in terms of personal achievement and well being? Explain.

I wouldn't rate it a 10, but it wasn't a 1 either.  I have room for improvement in a number of areas so let's give it a 6 and skip explaining why.  

6. Every January 1st since 1976 Lake Superior University has published a list of words they'd like to see banished from the Queen's English. Words may be banished due to misuse, overuse, or just general uselessness. Go here to read more about how the words were chosen or, if you're like me, to find out what in the world the word or phrase even means or the context in which it's used. There were quite a few on this year's list I'd never heard before.

Here's the 2017 list of banished words-

You, Sir-focus-Bete Noire-Town Hall Meeting-Post Truth-guesstimate-831-historic-manicured-echo chamber-on fleek-bigly-ghost-Dadbod-listicle-get your dander up-selfie drone-frankenfruit-disruption

Which word on the list would you most like to see banished in 2017? What word or phrase would you add to the list?

I must have been living in a bubble this year or builidng a house or something because I haven't heard of half of these, certainly not to the point of overuse. 831? ghost? Huh? I've certainly heard enough of 'town hall meetings' and post-truth sounds suspicisouly like 'not true', so I guess I'd choose to banish one of those if I must choose. 

What overused word would I pick if I were in charge? Well I'm kind of weary of the word safe space. I feel like it's impact has been lost in the post-election brouhaha. There are people in this world who genuinely need safe spaces, who are persecuted, abused, tortured. College students (and others like them) feeling sad-disappointed-angry about election results, in my mind, do not fall into that category and they've co-opted the word to the point it has lost real meaning. 

7. Large or small, light or deep, share with us one goal you have for the new year.

Read through the Bible chronologically and finally!! get my videos transferred to DVD. Do we still use DVD? Whatever format we're using now, that's what I need to do with my old videos and I resolve to make this the year it happens. 

8. Insert your own random thought here.

A song I'm loving lately...if you're stubborn like me maybe it will encourage you too. Happy New Year! 





Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 292

Happy New Year Hodgepodgers and welcome to 2017! Raise your hand if you love a fresh start-clean slate. I have a lot of fun travel on my January calendar so will need to make one small adjustment to our Hodgepodge schedule this month, and that's this-no Hodgepodge next week (January 11th). In spite of all my comings and goings I think I can manage to make the rest of the Wednesdays happen.

Okay, we're here today so let's go...answer on your own blog, then slide back here tomorrow and add your link to the party. See you there!


1. Share one favorite moment/memory from your Christmas holiday. 

2. What was the best thing you ate over the holidays? Was it homemade or store bought? If it was homemade did you make it?

3. What was one of the most beautiful things you saw over the holidays?

4. What does fresh start mean to you?

5. On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being very positive and 1 being not so great) how would you rate 2016 in terms of personal achievement and well being? Explain. 

6. Every January 1st since 1976 Lake Superior University has published a list of words they'd like to see banished from the Queen's English. Words may be banished due to misuse, overuse, or just general uselessness. Go here to read more about how the words were chosen or, if you're like me, to find out what in the world the word or phrase even means or the context in which it's used. There were quite a few on this year's list I'd never heard before.

Here's the 2017 list of banished words-

You, Sir-focus-Bete Noire-Town Hall Meeting-Post Truth-guesstimate-831-historic-manicured-echo chamber-on fleek-bigly-ghost-Dadbod-listicle-get your dander up-selfie drone-frankenfruit-disruption

Which word on the list would you most like to see banished in 2017? What word or phrase would you add to the list?

7. Large or small, light or deep, share with us one goal you have for the new year. 

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I'm going to go ahead and insert my random thought today instead of tomorrow because today my Daughter1 and her Dr. Captain celebrate 2 years of wedded bliss. 



If you've got a minute, hop over to her somewhat neglected blog (it couldn't be helped-she's had computer woes) and wish them a happy anniversary. (Sincerely Shannon)

Also, they are still every bit as happy and adorable as they look in this photo (credit: Chris Isham)

Also, I will probably mention it again tomorrow because that's how we roll round here.