Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The Winds Of Change Are Blowing Through The Hodgepodge

Hello Hodgepodgers and any others who might be reading here today. If you're a regular in the HP please be sure to read my random thought today. I'm sure nobody skips to the bottom and just adds a link ahem, but I've got HP news in my random so you'll want to at least read that.

Now on to this week's questions...if you've answered add your link at the end of my post. Be sure to hop over and leave a comment for the blogger before you too, because that's how we roll. Here we go-

1. I feel most energized when I _______________________.

Tick things off a to-do list. Accomplish a difficult or particularly annoying task I've put off.  Am fed and well rested-ha! Just keepin' it real. If I'm tired and hungry I get cranky. 

2. Where were you ten years ago?

In mid-July of 2008 I was enjoying a blue sky day in London with the hubs and our girls-


And walking our pup on the paths that ran through the fairy tale ferns in our little English village-


Note what I'm wearing on July 20, 2008!

3. July 17th is World Emoji Day. Do you use emojis? Which one's your favorite? Your most used?

I use emojis in texts, mostly just texts to my family though. My favorite is probably the smiley face blowing a kiss, but my most used is the smiley face with the heart eyes. Daughter1 says I love to add lots of heart eyes to any posted pics of baby boy. I can't help it. He gives me all the heart eyes. 

4. What song would you put on a wedding DO NOT PLAY list?

Quite a few actually, but The Macarena was the first to come to mind. 

5. What deserves less of your attention? More of your attention?

The less part of this question is hard for me right now. I have been doing all the things that need doing this summer and haven't had a lot of time to 'waste' on things that don't need my attention.

As far as more of my attention I'm going to say writing. I miss it and am trying to figure out a way to make it happen on a more regular basis. 

Which brings me to my random thought...

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Although it's not that random because I've been mulling this 'random' over for quite a while now. 

I'm going to take a break from the Wednesday Hodgepodge. I've struggled with the commitment all summer and am still looking at a very busy end of July-August calendar. But mostly it's this-


I miss writing and I want to make room for that in my life again. 

I know the Hodgepodge is writing, but it's not the only writing I want to do. And because we've had so much going on here this spring and summer it seems what little time I do have to write I've had to spend on the Wednesday Hodgepodge. 

That's not to say I don't love it, and especially the people I've come to know here, but I do need to make some adjustments and this feels like the right time to do it. 

So here's the deal...this will be the last Wednesday Hodgepodge for the summer. I will definitely host one more the first week in September for anyone who wants to participate, and then will see how I feel about continuing in the current format or maybe in an updated format. Or maybe putting a bow on it and calling it done. Stay tuned. 

In the meantime I do have plans to blog, to read blogs which is something else I've missed, and to write outside my blog.  I hope you'll add me to your reader,  follow me by email or on Instagram where I normally link. Or send me a FB friend request as I also link my blog there. You can follow along using any of these methods by clicking the links just under the Welcome section on my sidebar. 

I have truly loved this little weekly gathering. I've learned a lot and laughed a lot and I look forward to seeing what's next. Mark your calendars for Sept 4/5 if you want to be sure and catch the return of the Hodgepodge. 

Cheers! Joyce 




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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 359

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


1. I feel most energized when I _______________________.

2. Where were you ten years ago?

3. July 17th is World Emoji Day. Do you use emojis? Which one's your favorite? Your most used?

4. What song would you put on a wedding DO NOT PLAY list?

5. What deserves less of your attention? More of your attention?

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

No Getting Rid Of The Hodgepodge

Welcome to the Wednesday Hodgepodge! If you've answered this week's questions add your link at the end of my post, and then be sure to leave a comment for the blogger before you. That's what good neighbors do here on From This Side Of The Pond-


1.What's something in your house you'd like to get rid of, but can't?

We have some furniture in our lower garage bay I've been holding on to thinking Daughter2 may want once she's married. Or she may not and that's okay, but I'm not doing anything about it until I know for sure. 

2. When is the last time you experienced a sense of nostalgia? Elaborate.

When my sister and brother were here we were sitting around the table talking and sharing some memories of a trip we took with cousins to an amusement park nearly fifty years ago. 

How my brother rode a roller coaster with my cousin and that particular cousin screamed he was going to die at the top of his lungs the entire ride. How my sister hated the roller coaster and then the operator forgot to stop the cart and she had to go around again. 

There was more but it all left me feeling a bit nostalgic for the magic of childhood, our family of six around the dinner table on a school night, siblings asleep in the same upstairs...

3. You're only allowed three apps on your smart phone or tablet...which three do you keep?

This is a toughie! If you make me choose I'll go with Instagram, Music, and then FaceTime because I need this face in my everyday-



4. July 11th is National Blueberry Muffin Day. Who knew? Do you like blueberry muffins? If you were going to have a muffin would blueberry be your choice? What's the last thing you baked?

Honestly I don't love muffins. They're usually too heavy and 'bready' for me so if I'm having a muffin I'd prefer a mini. A blueberry muffin is okay, but I'd rather have cranberry-orange. Actually I'd rather have a bagel, but that wasn't the question. 

The last thing I baked were fresh strawberry cupcakes for my brother-in-law's birthday a few days ago. I linked the recipe in Monday's post so you'll need to hop over there if you're curious. They were delish! 

5. What's the biggest way you've changed since you were a child? In what way are you still the same?

Biggest way I've changed? Well I can't eat whatever I want whenever I want. Is that an answer? 

While I'm still a great big chicken about so many things I know I'm braver in a lot of ways too. And I'm definitely stronger, both mentally and physically. My mom pointed out to me recently that I've got muscles in my legs. To quote her, 'they don't look like toothpicks anymore'.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

Daughter2 bought a life jacket for her pup and we thought we'd see what she thought of the water...


Let's just say she's more of an indoor girl. 



Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 358

I'm hoping to blog this week because there are some actual blank spaces in my calendar. In the meantime let's play along with the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog, then hop back here tomorrow to add your link to the party. See you there!

1. What's something in your house you'd like to get rid of but can't?

2. When is the last time you experienced a sense of nostalgia? Elaborate.

3. You're only allowed three apps on your smart phone or tablet...which three do you keep?

4. July 11th is National Blueberry Muffin Day. Who knew? Do you like blueberry muffins? If you were going to have a muffin would blueberry be your choice? What's the last thing you baked?

5. What's the biggest way you've changed since you were a child? In what way are you still the same?

6. Insert your own random thought here.
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Monday, July 9, 2018

Always Just One More Thing

July 9th. Already? This summer has been a whirlwind of activity, but I'm currently looking at a little bit of blank space on the calendar and am determined to regroup here on the blog. It's not a lot of blank space, but it's the most I've had since Easter (I know!!) so I'll take it.

Also, this should be two posts I'm sure but you know how I do things here, right?

The problem is basically this-I tell myself I'll do just one little thing before I hop on here to write, and then there is always one more little thing that follows. Then another and another and before you know it the clock reads 9 PM and I haven't written word one.

Today it started with the frig. We've had a lot of house guests recently and everyone is so great about helping in the kitchen and bringing dishes to add to the meals, but my frig! Yikes! I tell people to just 'put that leftover wherever you can find space' so there are bottles and plastic containers and foil wrapped ? tucked on every shelf. The whole thing needs to be hosed down which is what I started doing first thing this morning.

I lost my way when I went to get something out of the dryer that needed a hanger and then I ran downstairs for 'just a minute' to put another something in a closet but the closet looked a little like my frig so I thought 'let me just sort out this closet while I'm looking at it'.

Also brewing in the back of my brain was the fact that I still hadn't showered, washed my hair, finished my grocery list, shopped for said groceries, and while I'm out stop at the post office, drop the tablecloth at the dry cleaners, pick up a prescription from the drug store, and...and...and...

There is always just one more thing, isn't there?

The frig is mostly cleaned out. Groceries are purchased. Dinner was put in the crockpot. All the laundry is done (whoohoo!). Bills were paid. A package mailed. A tablecloth left with the cleaners in town. A prescription collected. A torturous thirty minutes was spent on the phone with an internet business customer service agent trying to sort out a charge on our credit card, but problem solved so calling that a win! And now I'm sort of writing about it so I guess I can check that box too.


What did everyone do on the 4th? Yep. Gonna just abruptly change topic but that's how my Mondays seem to roll. My brother and sister-in law got to town the night before,  just in time for a boat ride and a sunset swim as the sky turned my favorite shade of pink.


Daughter2 and her fiance were also in the house (and on the boat) and then my sister who lives in a nearby town came to spend the holiday with us. Also her hubs and my niece and her boyfriend so a full house. 

We decided it was too hot to grill so I made slaw and did pulled pork in my crockpot. Daughter2 made the beans, my sister made a delicious spinach pasta salad, and there was watermelon because that's the law on the 4th of July. You needed to know what we ate, didn't you? 


We hung out in the water most of the day, and hubs even managed a boat ride with some of our crew before dinner. We played cornhole and sang happy birthday to my brother-in-law and enjoyed these strawberry cupcakes (click for recipe) which everyone loved. Our across the water neighbor always puts on a fantastic fireworks show and this year was no exception.  


Boats come from around the lake and line up at the mouth of our cove to watch, and when a firework is particularly large or beautiful all the boaters honk. So much fun! Hubs, the fiance, and my niece's boyfriend watched while floating on water saddles in front of our dock, but the rest of us were in comfy chairs on the dock and around the firepit. 


Thursday the fiance worked so Daughter2 hung out with us and enjoyed spending time with her aunt and uncle. Here's a picture to prove they were here-ha! I just couldn't be bothered with my camera with so much going on this weekend, although I think that's when you're supposed to bother with your camera. I'm relying on everyone else to snap pics and they do. 

Friday there was a little more boating and swimming (suffice it to say we were water rats all week long) then a nice dinner out at a local Italian restaurant. Not gonna lie...I've done a lot of cooking this summer and I do love to cook, but I also really enjoyed this meal that I did not prepare. 

Friday my sister and brother-in-law came back out for dinner at the lake, then took my brother and sister-in-law home with them for a couple of days. We had a lovely break in the weather on Saturday which was the perfect excuse to lounge on the porch in yoga pants, watch some World Cup, and play Monopoly- the London version of course because England!! Whoohoo!!


And now I think you're up to speed on all the mundane except I forgot to mention the scrumptious blueberry pancakes Daughter2 prepared for us on Sunday. I never make pancakes so this was a real treat for everyone. 



Plus she's adorable and should definitely have her own cooking show. She's a wonderful baker and has no trouble cracking eggs while carrying on a conversation.

What would I blog about if I didn't talk weather and what was on our menu?
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Sunday, July 1, 2018

Twenty Things

Approximately twenty things.

Because I haven't blogged in eons and I have a million bits of random in my head and on my camera which I will now narrow down to just twenty.

Approximately twenty. 

So where was I when last we spoke? I just checked and the last time I blogged about something other than asking/answering the Wednesday Hodgepodge questions was June 11th. Yikes! that was a long time ago. Longer than I thought so now I'm wondering if it's worth going back three whole weeks to tell you about small bits of absolutely nothing important.

Yes. Because I'm all about the everyday stuff of life here on This Side of the Pond.

1. We had an anniversary. 34 years so yay us!

2. We celebrated with a lovely dinner at Halls Chophouse in the nearby small big city and it was delish. We did not take a single picture. We live about 45 minutes away and decided to stay overnight because we're empty nesters and we can. Also, we wanted to preview the hotel as we'll have some wedding guests staying there in the spring.

3. Shout out to our server at Halls Chophouse who sent us a handwritten note card a few days later,  thanking us for coming and telling us how happy she was to wait on us as we celebrated our 34th anniversary. That's some fantastic customer service right there.

4. Also, complimentary glass of bubbly when we sat down. Whoohoo! I'd definitely go back.

5. We tried a newish spot in town for breakfast called Crepe du Jour. We had to, right? I mean I need to know what to recommend to people in terms of breakfast spots come April and now I do.

6. We drove home after breakfast because it was Father's Day and Daughter2 was coming out to the lake to celebrate and spend the night. She made the most precious video for hubs, filled with pics of the two of them together while she sang Carrie Underwood's song 'The Girl You Think I Am' as the background soundtrack. Cue the tissues! Also, did I snap a photo of hubs with his girl on Father's Day? No I did not. I wish I had...does that count?

7. The Tuesday after Father's Day I flew to my mom's in NJ.

8. Wait, no I didn't. I was supposed to fly to my mom's on Tuesday, but instead the Wednesday after Father's Day I flew to my mom's in NJ. I only had to sit in the airport waiting on one delay after another for seven+ hours. I passed the time reading and thinking about what sort of junk food I might buy if I didn't have a wedding happening in less than a year.

9. I finally got to my mom's about 7:30 PM. She made me a BLT and I slept in my childhood bedroom and all was right with the world once more.

10. My sister came over the next day and we went shopping for a new bathroom vanity for my mom and it was super frustrating so we called it a day and went to lunch instead. I had dinner at my brother's house that evening and enjoyed that too. Also not a single picture was snapped of me with my siblings or my mama while I was there. Blogging is not the only ball I'm dropping lately.

11. On Friday I drove about an hour and a half to the Eastern Shore of Maryland for a weekend with friends from long ago summer camp days. We sleep in rustic cabins that are maybe a little too rustic for 50-somethings, and we duck between raindrops and celebrate the clearing of the skies. We talk and laugh and remember. We sing camp songs and share stories under a million stars and we marvel at creation in a place so near and dear to each one of our hearts.


12. I drove back to my mom's early Sunday morning so I could go with her to church and then a leisurely lunch afterward with a few of her friends.

13. Monday morning mom and I got down to business and got the vanity sorted and new floor tile ordered and paint colors picked and we both felt better about her home improvement project. It's not a huge project, but is there such a thing as a small room reno? They all feel big to me.

14. My brother dropped me at the airport Tuesday where I once again sat for more than two hours waiting on delayed aircraft but then did finally make it home in time to have dinner with Daughter2. We were in the neighborhood so why not? Hubs phoned Daughter1's in-laws and they met us at the nearby fancy taco place too, and then hubs and I drove home and I crawled into bed where I could have happily remained for a day except we had company coming on Thursday.

15. A former co-worker of hubs and his wife drove down from NY for the weekend and we had such a great time catching up. He and hubs became friends when hubs worked for a small company post-retirement. They hit it off right away and I met his wife when we all went on a 'work trip' to Antigua last year, and we made plans then to get together at the lake this summer.


He and hubs both love to water ski so there was lots of water skiing. I love it when someone else is here to pull hubs so he can ski, tie up lines, and act as dock boy when we dock. The weather cooperated and we spent most of the weekend on the water or planted on one of the small beaches on various islands in the lake.


16. They left this morning and hubs is mowing the lawn because for some reason that's how he relaxes. I'm changing bed linens because we have company coming for the 4th of July holiday and staying through the weekend and as long as beds are made and groceries are bought we're good to go.  Company really isn't all that complicated and we enjoy all the comings and goings.

17. In other completely unrelated news...hubs and I watched the movie Hostiles. Has anyone see it? Not for the faint of heart! We also just finished Season 1 of an Amazon Prime program called Bosch. It's based on a character created by Michael Connelly and if you liked his books featuring the Lincoln Lawyer you'll recognize the name Harry Bosch. The show is really well cast and hubs and I both liked it a lot.

18. I finished a book that's gotten a lot of buzz. It's called The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir, and I thought it was just okay. Think the Duggers and you'll have an idea of this novel's theme. I wanted to like it, but I felt like the storyline fed into a lot of sterotypes and generalizations about the Christian community that are more exception than rule.  It reads more like a YA novel, and I while I do occasionally read some of those this one was more of a miss for me. I did want to know how it turned out, so there's that, but overall it was just okay.

19. While I was visiting my mom hubs was home arranging with an electrician for the install of a ceiling fan on our lower patio and the hanging of our Edison Bulbs. I love the way they turned out and can't wait to have dinner under our very own 'stars'.


20. And now an awesome sunset and 100 bonus points to anyone who made it all the way here.

photo cred: hubs

Have a great week everyone!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

A Garden State Hodgepodge

I've had my share of of travel frustrations and snafus this past week, but I did finally make it home last night. Just in time for the Wednesday Hodgepodge! If you've answered the questions on your own blog, add your link at the end of my post then leave a comment for the blogger linking before you. Now put your seat backs up and be sure your tray tables are stowed because we're off-



From this Side of the Pond  

1. Security or freedom? Can you have both? Explain.

Absolutely. I think maybe a better question would be can you have freedom without security?

2. If you could visit any historical American site what would it be? Why?

I’ve seen a number of what would be considered the top historical sites in America, but I’d still like to visit Mt Rushmore and Pearl Harbor. I think Mt. Rushmore is something that must be seen in person to truly be appreciated and of course Pearl Harbor is significant in our country's history. I like history. 

3. Free as a bird, free reign, be free of, free enterprise, free trip, walk away scot free, free for all...which 'free' phrase can best be applied to your life in recent days or weeks? Explain.

Well I’ve been on two American Airline flights this week and am happy to be free of that airline for a while. One cancelled flight rebooked a day later, eight hours sitting in an airport waiting on the newly booked flight which was delayed-delayed-delayed, then more sitting in the airport on the return leg, again waiting-waiting-waiting on delay-delay-delay. 

4. Something in your frig that's red? Something in your house that's white? Something in your view that's blue?

Something in my frig that's red-salsa.

Something in my house that's white-call me crazy but I do have a white couch. Two actually. 

Something blue in my view-there are certain times of day when the lake looks green, but mostly it's clear blue in color.  I guess technically it’s just clear, but it definitely looks blue.

5. July 27th is National New Jersey Day. Have you ever visited The Garden State? If so where did you go? Are there diners where you live? Have you tried Taylor Pork Roll? Do you like to play Monopoly? Salt water taffy-yay or nay? How do you feel about shopping at the mall? Springsteen, Sinatra, or Bon Jovi-you have to pick one.

I’ve lived in NJ three different times and as a result have spent almost half my life in the Garden State. She gets a bad rap, but there’s much to love there too. In fact I was in NJ last week visiting family so NJ is one of the places I feel most at home. 

We do have a little restaurant here in tiny town that bills itself as a diner, but it’s nothing like the diners I’m used to. If you're in NJ you must eat at a diner. The menus are the size of a novel and there is definitely something for everyone anytime of the day or night. I miss NJ diners. 

I’ve tried Taylor pork roll or Taylor ham as it’s also known. There's a bit of controversy as to which name is the right one. 

I don’t dislike Monopoly, but I have to be in the mood to play that game.  

Salt water taffy? Yes please. 

I’m not a big mall shopper anymore, but there was a time I enjoyed it. These days I prefer stand alone stores with parking out front. Or online shopping in my pjs. 

Silly question-the Boss of course. 

Raise your hand if you know why these add-on questions are appropriate on National NJ Day.

For anyone scratching their head...NJ has more diners than anywhere else in the world, and more shopping malls in one area than anywhere in the world with seven malls in a 25-mile radius. Taylor pork roll and Salt Water Taffy originated in N.J. The streets of Monopoly take their name from Atlantic City and Springsteen, Sinatra, and Bon Jovi are all Jersey boys.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

I need to regroup here a little bit (or maybe a lot), and since next week's Hodgepodge lands on the 4th of July I think we'll declare that our summer holiday. No Hodgepodge next week (July 4th), then we'll be back in action the following week-July 11th. 




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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 357

Another week, another Hodgepodge. That's all the blogging I've had room for lately, but maybe it's better than nothing? I have lots to catch up on here, but for now this will have to suffice. Answer the questions on your own blog, then hop back here tomorrow to share answers with the universe.

Here we go-

1. Security or freedom? Can you have both? Explain.

2. If you could visit any historical American site what would it be? Why?

3. Free as a bird, free reign, be free of, free enterprise, free trip, walk away scot free, free for all...which 'free' phrase can best be applied to your life in recent days or weeks? Explain.

4. Something in your frig that's red? Something in your house that's white? Something in your view that's blue?

5. July 27th is National New Jersey Day. Have you ever visited The Garden State? If so where did you go? Are there diners where you live? Have you tried Taylor Pork Roll? Do you like to play Monopoly? Salt water taffy-yay or nay? How do you feel about shopping at the mall? Springsteen, Sinatra, or Bon Jovi-you have to pick one.

Raise your hand if you know why these add-on questions are appropriate on National NJ Day.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

A Backyard Hodgepodge

Welcome to the Wednesday Hodgepodge! If you've answered this week's questions add your link at the end of my post, then leave a comment for the blogger before you. That's what good neighbors do.

Here we go-

1. Summer is upon us this week in the Northern hemisphere. Tell us three things on your summer bucket list.

See a baseball game in the small big city.

Sliding Rock is a natural water slide about an hour and a half from here, a gentle slope about 60 feet long that ends in a deep 'pool' of icy cold water. I'd like to try it on a hot summer day.

Dinner al fresco somewhere romantic. That might be under the Edison bulbs on my own back patio, once they're installed.

2. Something fun you used to do as a kid in the summertime?

Once I was old enough my sister and I used to love riding our bicycles to the swim club, a six mile ride that included careening (sometimes no-handed) down a ginormous hill and crossing a picturesque covered bridge. The feeling of freedom and independence was intoxicating. 

3. Rooftop or backyard? Why?

This is a toughie because I love both. We have a lake in our backyard so it's hard to beat the view. We love sitting on one of our porches or on the dock or down at the fire pit and letting the peace and quiet wash over us. 

I'm part city girl too though, and I love me a great rooftop with a view of the skyline. Daughter2's wedding reception is a rooftop venue and I cannot wait! 

I need both.

4. Do you read food labels? Place importance on them? Make an effort to find out/care about where your food comes from?

I do read labels, maybe not religiously but I definitely do with products I'm thinking about buying for the first time. I especially check out the sugar and sodium content. I think we all need to pay attention to where our food comes from. Just recently there have been issues with romaine lettuce and cut watermelon from particular areas of the country so I don't just throw something in the cart without thinking about it. 

5. A song you'll have on repeat this summer?

It's a little early to say because I know there will be some great summer songs released soon, but this one by The Lovin' Spoonful is always on my summer playlist. An oldie but a goodie. Also I'm currently loving this one (The Long Way) by Brett Eldridge. I think it came out last summer, but it's getting a lot of air play now. 

6. Insert your own random thought here.

I was supposed to be writing this HP from the comfort of my mama's house in NJ. My Tuesday flight was cancelled because American Airlines is experiencing some pretty major hiccups that are wreaking havoc with travel itineraries. On the bright side, the agent who rebooked me was very pleasant after what I know was a long day on her end, and I'm rebooked for another day. Here's hoping they've sorted out the computer snafu before I need to fly. 


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 356

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 world wide webbers. Here we go-


1. Summer is upon us this week in the Northern hemisphere. Tell us three things on your summer bucket list.

2. Something fun you used to do as a kid in the summertime?

3. Rooftop or backyard? Why?

4. Do you read food labels? Place importance on them? Make an effort to find out/care about where your food comes from?

5. A song you'll have on repeat this summer?

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Splurging On The Hodgepodge

Welcome to another edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge. If you've answered this week's questions add your link at the end of my post, then leave a comment for the blogger before you. Off we go-




1. What happens to the mail at your house?

Well for starters I feel like there's a whole lot of it. We don't get a lot of magazines, but we do get quite a few catalogs and so many credit card offers. I especially dislike the ones that fill in my name and address in multiple spots on the form when I didn't request a card to begin with.  

I try to sort the mail when it comes in, leave anything pertinent for hubs to look at before I file, and immediately shred the junk along with any mail that has our personal info printed on it anywhere. 

2. Something you always splurge on? Any guilt associated with the splurge?

Is coloring my hair a splurge? No. It kind of feels like one every time I pay, but really it's a necessity so let me think of something else. I don't splurge on much, but I guess maybe getting pedicures year round would be considered a splurge by some. No I don't feel guilty about it. 

3. There are many, but what are two important questions you think every bride and groom should ask/answer before they plan their walk down the aisle?

It's hard to narrow it down to just two, and I think even the two I've come up with have several subcategories of questions, but for brevity's sake-

 Do we share the same values when it comes to matters of faith, the importance of marriage, and the desire for children? 

Do our ideas about spending and saving mesh? 

4. What's the best advice your father ever gave you?

My dad was more a lead by example kind of father as opposed to one who sat us down and talked a whole lot about how we should live our lives. I do know he told me to 'always work hard' and my siblings and I have all heeded that advice. 

5. Your favorite movie where a father features heavily in the storyline?

Father of the Bride. Steve Martin as the dad reminds me so much of my hubs in the way he sees his daughters.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

A little housekeeping here today...first off Blogger. It used to be that if someone commented on my blog via Blogger I would see that in my email. Blogger no longer sends comments to email so now if you're on Blogger you have to go to your sidebar and click on comments awaiting moderation in order to see new comments. It's not a huge pain, but it is a tiny little one.

Also, I've had my blog linked to Networked Blogs for years. Whenever I wrote a new blog post it was automatically published on my Facebook page via Networked Blogs. I have quite a few people who follow my blog via Facebook, but Networked Blogs is no longer operating so now it's up to me to add  new links on my Facebook page. Again not a huge pain, but another tiny little one. There are a couple of pay services out there, but I don't think I'll go that route yet. 

Technology tries to get the best of me, but it's not won yet. 



Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 355

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



1. What happens to the mail at your house?

2. Something you always splurge on? Any guilt associated with the splurge?

3. There are many, but what are two important questions you think every bride and groom should ask/answer before they plan their walk down the aisle?

4. What's the best advice your father ever gave you?

5. Your favorite movie where a father features heavily in the storyline?

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, June 11, 2018

The Monday Evening Gazette

I had every intention of blogging this morning, but hubs and I had a gazillion errands to run and that meant going to town. I sound like Ma Ingalls when I say that, but we literally had to 'go to town'. Town isn't all that far, but it's not real close either so it makes sense to tackle your errands with some forethought.

Also, one of our errands involved a stop in Academy Sports to look at 'just one thing' which is code for we'll be there for hours. Hubs could spend all day in that store and we practically did.

Since I missed my Monday morning deadline how about I share a short list of random unrelated nonessential information that for some reason I feel needs to be written down somewhere?

Great! Here we go-

1. We had a house guest this weekend. You're shocked I know, but we actually weren't expecting house guests this weekend. This was a last minute happy surprise visit from hubs brother who lives in Virginia but had been in Tennessee visiting my mother-in-law. Hubs suggested he detour through SC on the way home and that's what he did.


2. I think he and hubs had a great time catching up in person. I had a brutal headache all day long Saturday and barely lifted my head off the pillow so I can't say for sure. I do know they kayaked and later took the boat out and visited all the fun spots on the lake. They were gone all day which made me feel less like a party pooper so I'm calling it a win.

3. We also had house guests last weekend that I never got around to mentioning because one day rolls into the next round here and I'm what's affectionately known as a slacker blogger.

Actually I don't know if it's affectionate or not, but this blog does hang on by its fingernails from week to week.

A friend I've known since high school and who still lives in NJ was vacationing in Charleston last week, and planned a weekend stop over at the lake on their way down. She and I actually met while working at a summer camp in Maryland back in 1970-something and discovered we were from the same NJ town although rival high schools. Our guys get along great too, which is always a bonus.


Hubs and I made sure they tasted some of the foods from the Southern Food Groups (yes that is so a thing) and I think fried green tomatoes, pimento cheese, and shrimp and grits were all hits.

4. A new generation of bluebirds are about to be born in our back yard. There are five eggs this time and incubation takes a couple of weeks so not long now.

In case you're wondering, I'm not a bluebird expert, I just play one on my blog.


We had so much fun watching the first round of babies hatch, peep out of the birdhouse, learn from their parents, and grow into teenagers. Do birds experience the teen years? The teen weeks? Whatever the case, they are so pretty and we're looking forward to round 2.

5. It's almost summer which means I will unapologetically be posting too many pictures of beautiful sunsets. I took this at the gas dock the other night while we were filling up the boat. #sorrynotsorry


Also, who else is a fan of 9 o'clock sunsets?
Have a great week all!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Thirtysomethings

This girl celebrates a birthday today. The turning of a calendar page not just to a new day, but also a new decade.


Do moms still take their babies for photographs like this one? Thirty years ago all moms did... 3 months, six months, one year. We stuck them in photo albums and put them in frames and later in boxes that now sit in basements and attics because those babies are somehow grown up thirty year old women.

Oh how the years roll by...

On my blog yesterday I asked readers to sum up their 30's in one sentence. Impossible I know, but we tried. I will likely do a whole post in response to this question, but not today because today is about the birthday girl. And also me, but I'm trying to make it more about her-ha!

I think we all mark the big milestone birthdays in some way. Not necessarily with a party or celebration, but we can't help pondering in our heads at least, the decade we're kissing goodbye and the one we're racing toward. Some of the '0' birthdays feel bigger than others and I think thirty is one of those. At least it was for me, much more so than my 40th.

I was not looking or feeling my best on my 30th birthday. I'd given birth to my second daughter a few days earlier and if I could lay my hands on the photograph taken on my birthday you'd know what I mean. I was off my game in every sense of the word but I tried to put on a happy face.

I think putting on a happy face eventually leads you to an actual happy face.

The day I turned thirty hubs and I were living in North Jersey with our nearest family almost three hours away. Hubs had a nightmare commute to his grown up job, a job that required a ridiculous amount of travel on top of the crazy commute and I was at home with our babies all day every day.

They were some of the sweetest longest loveliest hardest days of my life, and if I had to do it all again I would do it all again.

Again and again and again.

I think today about my Daughter turning 30. How the world has changed but stay at home mothering not so much. Mothers still press on day in day out caring for their tiny humans as best they know how. Questioning everything, reading what the experts say but listening to their gut too, perpetually tired, one part Wonder Woman-one part wondering who left you in charge of an actual person.

Still showering their tiny kingdoms with a hundred million acts of love and kindness that are sometimes so small they can't be measured in a quantifiable way. Acts that might look and feel insignificant on the surface, but upon closer examination reveal the heartbeat of a family.

My Daughter lives on the opposite side of the country, her nearest family a plane ride away. Her hubs might have a quick commute, but he makes up for it with the hours he spends not just on the job but also in reading, studying, learning what's new in his field, researching, publishing...

Nothing about being a surgical resident is easy, and while he happily puts his nose to the grindstone Daughter1 is at home with their baby boy all day every day. At age thirty she too is living smack dab in the middle of some of the sweetest, longest, loveliest days of her life.

It's been three decades since I first laid eyes on my first born baby girl. The one who made me a mama. In a way I think we moms grow up with our babies. We teach and they learn. They teach and we learn. I know this girl still makes me want to be more like her in so many ways...passionate, gentle, strong, funny, creative, kind.


There was a little poem that once upon a time we'd see embroidered on pillows and samplers that read, 'Cooking and cleaning can wait til tomorrow For babies grow up we've learned to our sorrow...'

No. Not to our sorrow. To our great great joy.

Dear Moms of littles-you're in a magical season of life, but I'm here to tell you grown up daughters are too wonderful for words.

Happy happy birthday Daughter1! May this next decade be filled with more love and joy than your heart can hold. I'm thankful every day I get to be your mom. And especially thankful now to watch you be a mom xo

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Recording The Hodgepodge

Welcome to the Wednesday Hodgepodge! If you've answered this week's questions add your link at the end of my post then leave a comment for the blogger linking before you. That's what keeps the Hodgepodge rolling merrily along.  Here we go-


1. Describe your 30's in one sentence. If you're not yet 30 tell us one thing you hope to accomplish once you hit that particular decade.

I asked this question a while back about your 20's and struggled with the one sentence thing. I ended up writing a whole blog post in response (you can read that here) and think I'll do the same with my 30's. For purposes of today's Hodgepodge here is one sentence/phrase that sums up a big huge chunk of my 30's-

Growing up girls. 

2. Is it harder for you to exercise or eat healthy?

Hmmm...depends on the day, but for the most part I more easily drop the ball when it comes to regular exercise. 

3. June 7th is National VCR Day. Huh? Anyway this reminded me of something I saw on Facebook listing household items we no longer have and the VCR was on it. I couldn't put my hands on that list, but found another list here of 21 items we all had ten years ago, but which are now obsolete-

bookshelves (WHAT!!???), drip coffee makers, alarm clocks, file cabinets, desktop computers, printers, printed phone books, answering machines, fax machines, paper shredders, a Rolodex, CD racks, CD burners, china cabinets, home phones, entertainment consoles, DVD players, calculators, takeout menus, incandescent light bulbs, and cable TV

Your thoughts? How many on the list do you still have? Still use?

Here are my thoughts on what's listed and currently in my possession-

bookshelves-I love real books and pretty shelves to hold them. We have a wall of built-ins in my office and we make good use of them. I like bookshelves where books are mixed with 'tchotchkes' for lack of a better word...photographs, baskets, art, mementos...

file cabinet-we still have a small one, although it's out of sight in a storage room. Where do people without one keep those pesky old tax returns? 

desktop computer-on one as we speak but when I change up my office space next year I might go to a laptop

paper shredder-in use regularly...aren't we all paranoid about identity theft? I shred credit card offers with my name preprinted (a pet peeve of mine) several times a week

china cabinet-still have one in my dining room because I like dishes and still use my china on special occasions. Or not so special occasions. I enjoy passing by the cabinet and seeing pretty dishes on display, and I like the easy access a china cabinet provides. I wouldn't mind updating my dining room furniture at some point down the road, but it's low on my list of 'want-to-dos'. 

home phone-no longer have one but I wish we did

takeout menus-there's not a lot of takeout in our little corner of the world, but I do have a couple of menus from local places we frequent sitting in my kitchen organizer. Sometimes paper really is faster/easier than consulting Google. 

cable-we have satellite TV which I know isn't cable, but it's cable in the sense that we haven't cut the chord and gone to subscription channels only

I use the alarm clock and calculator features on my phone all the time and don't miss those items in the house. I think my desktop can fax but I never bothered to learn how and it can also burn CD's which (true confession) I still do from time to time. 

4. What's something you see disappearing in the next ten years?

Keys. Remember when we all had a ring of keys in our purses and pockets? I feel like we're going the way of biometrics, swipe cards, remote entry, etc. 

5. How did you celebrate your birthday this past year? Is that typical?

Last year I spent my birthday right here-


In the water with a book in hand and plenty of sunshine. I floated and read and later hubs grilled me a steak and it was perfect. The day was typical in that hubs always makes me feel special on my birthday, but atypical in that we weren't dining out. My birthday lands in September and I think by the time it rolled around last year I was feeling the effects of a summer filled with activity. A day at home was what I asked for and enjoyed. 

6. Insert your own random thought here.

This little peanut celebrates a big birthday tomorrow-


I'll give you three guesses which one-ha! see question #1 

I know many of you read her blog (you'll find it here) and/or follow her on Instagram so I'd love it if you'd hop over with happy birthday wishes. 

She's still a little peanut, but also a loving wife to her hard working hubs, and a devoted mother to the cutest baby boy on the planet. Happy birthday Daughter1! You're still a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day! 



Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 354

After a much needed break I'm back with this week's questions for the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog, then jump back here tomorrow and add your link to the party. See you there!


1.Describe your 30's in one sentence. If you're not yet 30 tell us one thing you hope to accomplish once you hit that particular decade.

2. Is it harder for you to exercise or eat healthy?

3. June 7th is National VCR Day. Huh? Anyway this reminded me of something I saw on Facebook listing household items we no longer have and the VCR was on it. I couldn't put my hands on that list, but found another list here of 21 items we all had ten years ago, but which are now obsolete-

bookshelves (WHAT!!???), drip coffee makers, alarm clocks, file cabinets, desktop computers, printers, printed phone books, answering machines, fax machines, paper shredders, a Rolodex, CD racks, CD burners, china cabinets, home phones, entertainment consoles, DVD players, calculators, takeout menus, incandescent light bulbs, and cable TV

Your thoughts? How many on the list do you still have? Still use?

4. What's something you see disappearing in the next ten years?

5. How did you celebrate your birthday this past year? Is that typical?

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

It's Tuesday

I felt that needed to be said, because when a weekend lasts three days it's easy to forget what day it is. That also explains why there are no Hodgepodge questions on my blog today. I normally write them on a Monday so they'll post on Tuesday, but I spent all day yesterday thinking it was Sunday so no Hodgepodge this week.

Let's talk about other interesting things. Like the weather! Ugh! Memorial Day weekend feels like the official start of the summer season which I guess is why we expect the weather to be lovely and summer-like. We're almost always disappointed. I keep reminding myself it's May and it's still spring so rain is the norm, but it feels like warm sunny skies should be the norm.

I remember when my girls were young we always went to a friend's parents house on Memorial Day weekend because we lived in Annapolis and the Blue Angels would fly right over her parent's pool. The water would be freezing and the skies were most often gray and cloudy but the kids would try to convince us it was perfect swimming weather and we'd let them swim because it really does feel like the kick off to summer.

In spite of the dreary weather, or maybe because of it, we had a really enjoyable, low-key, restful weekend here at the lake. Daughter2 drove out after work on Friday and made it in time for dinner. Hubs grilled chicken and made yummy margaritas, and we set up a taco bar of sorts. It was perfect.

We ate almost all our meals this weekend on the screened in porch which is my favorite thing to do. The lake is never not pretty, and honestly watching rain fall from the comfy coziness of the porch is good for the soul.

We've had a houseful of company all month long so a quiet weekend was definitely in order. Hubs likes the idea in theory, but in reality not so much. He can create a project where none exists. At one point this weekend I actually uttered these words, which I know some of you won't understand, but if you're married to a do-er like I am you'll get it..."Hon, I really need you to do less this weekend." 

Seriously, how can I stretch out for a nap with a book on the back deck when he's killing weeds, rearranging hoses, and moving rock??? Turns out I can, but 1% of me feels like I should also be 'toting that barge and lifting that bale' right along with him.

Daughter2's fiance arrived from out of town late Friday evening and the four of us had a great time lounging. I actually got the kayak out early Saturday, they're new so this was my first time in ours and it was nice. We're still waiting on the other one to get here because somehow the place we ordered from 'lost' the other one. Not sure how you lose a lime green kayak, but apparently it can happen.


Hubs took my advice mid-morning Saturday and joined us on the porch. There were a few pockets of sunshine late in the day and some neighbors popped over for cornhole on the back drive. We had steaks for dinner and taught the fiance how to play Hearts which was fun. Daughter2 and I both LOVE to play games, the fiance likes to play games, and hubs (once he's talked into the fun) tolerates playing games.



He did grill some awesome ribs on Sunday which is basically an all day kind of process, so while he did that Daughter2 and I played dress up. We pulled out my wedding gown, circa 1984, and I took pictures of her and marveled at my once tiny waistline. I was so in love with those Cinderella sleeves and seeing them again makes me secretly happy.

There's nothing quite like seeing your baby girl in a wedding gown, yours or the very elegant and beautiful gown she'll wear on her actual day. I'm so looking forward to that!


Sunday evening the weather perked up long enough for a boat ride which we all enjoyed. The clouds were impressive!


Monday the monsoon rains were back again. Daughter2 and I spent the morning looking at all things wedding related while the fiance took care of some work stuff on his computer, and hubs...wait for it... napped! in the porch rocker.

Porches make life sweeter y'all.


Before 'the kids' headed back to the small big city Monday we had an afternoon of bowling and burgers at a nearby place. I'm a terrible bowler but it was really fun and we will definitely do that again before summer's end.


Which isn't for a long long while because summer hasn't even started yet.
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Note To Hodgepodge

Hello Hodgepodgers! I knew the month of May would catch up with me eventually and here we are. There will not be a Wednesday Hodgepodge this week (May 30th), but the HP will be back in action the following week (Wednesday June 6th).

June! I know!

Thanks for understanding.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Hodgepodge Royale

Welcome to the Wednesday Hodgepodge! If you've answered this week's questions, add your link at the end of my post, then go say howdy to the blogger linking before you. Here we go-


1. The last place you visited/patronized where you felt like you were given 'the royal treatment'?

I'm struggling to think when/where this would have been. Probably my birthday which was spent right here at home this year. No matter where we celebrate hubs always makes sure I feel pampered and well-loved on my birthday. 

2. The last task you completed that was a 'royal pain'?

Our tax returns. Or maybe it was reprogramming the TV. Both were royally painful. 

3. How have your strengths helped you succeed? How have your faults hindered you?

I think my biggest strength lies in my ability to always see the bright side. I'm an eternal optimist and I think when you're an optimist you find a way around life's obstacles and challenges, or at least a way to deal with them. 

As far as faults that hinder me I guess fear and worry have at times kept me from seizing the day. Course I'm married to someone who always seizes the day so that helps. 

4. If you found a remote that could rewind, fast forward, stop and start time, what would you do with it?

I'd remove the batteries and crush it with a hammer. I don't think we want to mess with time, or at least I don't. If I have to choose an answer from the options listed above I would say rewind. I suppose there are moments I'd like to relive, but I wonder if they'd feel the same? I know for sure I don't want to fast forward. Time is moving fast enough on it's own. 

5. Any special plans for the Memorial Day weekend? Will you in some way honor or recognize the meaning of this day (remembering people who died in service to their country)? Have you ever been to Arlington National Cemetery? Does your town do anything special to mark the day?

Our special plans involve a whole lot of nothing and we can't wait. I think Daughter2 and her fiance are going to come hang out at the lake, and we're all looking forward to a very low key, go-where-the wind-takes-us kind of weekend. There will be lots of porch sitting and lake swimming, a little corn hole, something on the grill, probably a nap or two...

We'll fly a flag of course and I will certainly think about the meaning of the day. I've been to Arlington many many times. My dad is buried there and it's a sacred place. Every American should see it at least once. 

Our little town has a 2-day festival over the Memorial Day weekend which includes carnival rides, concessions, and live music but we have no plans to attend. Like I said, we're keeping it low key here. 

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

On this Memorial Day weekend may God be especially near the families missing loved ones who died in service to our country. I love this beautiful song-






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