Sunday, September 20, 2020

1,892,160,000 Seconds


So I had a birthday.  


A pretty big birthday number wise, but maybe not as big celebration wise because thanks Covid. Can you tell from my face it was still pretty great? What can I say...I love my birthday and my family tried so hard to make the day special and they succeeded. 

While I do have a few thoughts on this next new decade, I think that will be it's own post and today I'll just recap all the sweet stuff that made up my birthday week.   

Daughter2 was in the house and we had the best time running wedding errands all week long. We spent Monday morning at the party rental place, then met with the florist that afternoon. We had our hair and makeup 'trial' on Tuesday and wrapped it up with a dress fitting for the bride-to-be on Wednesday. 

Y'all. I forgot how stunning this girl looks in her wedding dress. 


No this is not her wedding dress, but I will tell you the sight of her in that gown literally takes my breath away.  I cannot wait to see the groom's face when he sets eyes on his bride on their special day.  


After the dress fitting we celebrated with crepes at our favorite crepe spot, so the order of these events would feel correct. 

1. Try the dress on and be sure it fits perfectly. 

2. Share one sweet and one savory crepe with your momma because it's almost her birthday and because we both love crepes and can never decide between the sweet and the savory. 

3. Pledge going forward not to feast on crepes or sweets in general pre-wedding. 

4. I mean except for the birthday cake we'll eat later. 

If it looks like we're eating in a parking lot it's because we are. The restaurant had some indoor seating available but we opt for dining outdoors whenever we can, especially when it's a crystal clear morning or there's a pandemic hanging about. 


On my actual birthday my little family planned the absolute best surprise. Let me just say I think every birthday needs a surprise. Not necessarily a surprise party, but definitely some unexpected little bit of happy that brings a smile to your heart and maybe a tear to your eye. 

And that's what they did.  

They had many many of my friends and all of my family record video wishes for me, then Daughter2 magically put them all together on the big screen (aka the TV) and it was too wonderful for words. No one had come close to spilling the beans which made it a real surprise. 

That evening we had a delicious dinner at a very nice restaurant in tiny town and shout out to my hubs who never fails in sourcing a chocolate cake with raspberry filling, because that's my favorite. He also knows I don't think it's a birthday without balloons and believe fresh flowers are one of the secrets to a happy life so he obliged.


It's true y'all. Fresh flowers in the house makes the world feel less harsh.  

Hubs kinda went all out on the balloons this year. I don't think he knew about these until I sent him last week to collect a giant 3-0 for daughter2's birthday, but now that he's on to them I predict there will be more jumbo going forward. 


Of course Daughter1 called and the mancub sang happy birthday from a million miles away and helped me blow out all the candles via Facetime which tickled him so much.  I have to tell you that when he utters the word 'Nana' in his precious little boy voice I have an actual pain in my heart. It's a happy/sad sort of pain but it's very real, and if you're living away from your own grands you know what I'm saying.  

Little brother clapped and smiled big and took a couple of steps on camera which also made my day/week/year, and all in all it was a lovely way to end the day and usher in a brand new decade. 


"With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come." William Shakespeare

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Growing Older With The Wednesday 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. Comments keep the Hodgepodge rollin' right along. Here we go-



1. What's one thing you learned at the ripe old age of whatever age you are now?

Does Zoom count? I'd never heard of it before this year. 

2. I read here a list of foods that can help you look younger-

extra virgin olive oil, green tea, fatty fish, dark chocolate, vegetables, flaxseeds, pomegranates, avocados, tomatoes, spices, bone broth

How many of the foods listed have you tried? How many do you eat regularly? Your favorite from the list?

I've tried them all and regularly use extra virgin olive oil, eat fatty fish (salmon), dark chocolate, vegetables, avocados, tomatoes, and spices.  I like pomegranates but wouldn't say they're a staple here. If I could only have one thing on the list I'd choose vegetables.  

3. Something you miss from the 'good old days'? When were the good old days anyway?

Common courtesy, respect, and humor.

When did they occur? I'm not sure I can give precise dates, but feel pretty certain it was sometime prior to the invention of the iphone. 

4. What are two or three of the most rewarding things to be found in growing older?

There are many, but I'd say one of the best things about growing older is knowing who you are and being comfortable with that. Interacting with my adult children is pretty great too. 

Also see next question. 

5. What's your favorite part of your life right now?

Did you really need to ask? 



Grandparenting is not overrated. 

6. Insert your own random thought here.

As I was turning off the light about 10:30 pm Tuesday night I suddenly remembered, that while I wrote the Hodgepodge questions, I never answered them. Bother. You'd think after almost 400 episodes answering would be automatic. Chalk it up to 2020 and/or turning a year older this week. 

On the bright side I did not overthink this one. Happy Wednesday! 





Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 386

Still here, Hodgepodging on Wednesdays. This week's questions are below. Answer on your own blog, then hop back here to add your link to the party. See you there!



1. What's one thing you learned at the ripe old age of whatever age you are now?

2. I read here a list of foods that can help you look younger-

extra virgin olive oil, green tea, fatty fish, dark chocolate, vegetables, flaxseeds, pomegranates, avocados, tomatoes, spices, bone broth

How many of the foods listed have you tried? How many do you eat regularly? Your favorite from the list?

3. Something you miss from the 'good old days'? When were the good old days anyway?

4. What are two or three of the most rewarding things to be found in growing older?

5. What's your favorite part of your life right now?

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

And The Seasons They Go Round And Round

This girl celebrates a birthday today...


She doesn't ask for much on her big day other than a blog post, so how can I not? That being said, eleven years of birthday blog posts means I might need to give this one a good hard think.

Plus thirty.
Feels like a thing, doesn't it?

Sometimes we call daughter2 my mini me. If you and I are acquainted in real life and you happened to meet her out somewhere without me, you'd still know in an instant she's mine.


It's more than just the physical resemblance. She and I also share many of the same mannerisms, patterns of speech, a particular way of seeing life.

We both work/worked as teachers

We both love to be in the kitchen.

We're both a little clumsy (sorry sweetie)

We're both determined. Or maybe stubborn is a better word? You decide.

She's a mamas girl and I am too.

Jesus loves us this we know.

We're both patient.

Responsible.

Chatty.

Overly-independent. ahem.

She and I are both September babies, and while I'm not into astrology at all, I will say she and I share more than a few traits common to the September-born.

Last night we watched an old home movie, the one from her very first birthday, and I was taken aback by how quickly the years have flown. How this small but mighty baby girl there on the screen has, in the blink of an eye, become the woman who sits beside me on the couch.

It didn't feel like the blink of an eye. The days, the moments, the ordinary living of life. It wasn't really the blink of an eye. We lived those years between then and now. Filled them to the brim with so much goodness, so much fun, of course there was hard stuff too, but it's the goodness that bubbles up most in my memory.

We grew up side by each she and I and we marked the moments every chance we got.

In the video my baby walks on chubby legs, feeds herself fistfuls of icing, smiles big at the world around her, and for a minute I wish I could be there again. Back in that dining room with the papered walls, my mom and dad at the table, her three year old sister in the middle of it all...the room bursting with celebration...love...family.

Except I don't think I'd really go back.

I know that while I might do a few things better, I'd likely make some new mistakes too. Hi. I'm a mom and we do the best we can with what we know at the time.

It seems my girls birthday posts always end up being a little bit about me too and that's okay. Our lives and hearts and beings are entwined in a thousand million ways and for that I'm grateful. I think we humans are a little bit nature and a whole lot nurture and all that I poured into mothering my daughters, the right words spoken and the opportunities missed too, all helped shape them in to the women they are today.

And the woman she is today is a complete treasure.


Welcome to this brand new decade my darling girl. May it be filled with more joy your precious heart can hold.  

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Hodgepodge Laboring

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 linking before you.  Ready-set-GO!


From this Side of the Pond  

1. Something you've done in recent days or months that might be described as a labor of love?

Planning my daughter's birthday dinner with all her favorite things, finding one or two special gifts that will be meaningful to her, shopping for family Christmas pjs for my daughter overseas...

Preparing foods and shopping for/making small gifts with meaning are a labor of love for me. 

2. Last time you 'worked your fingers to the bone'?

I pulled weeds on our back slope for an hour on Saturday morning, and I don't know about my fingers but I definitely worked my back to the bone.

3. According to a recent survey people named the following ten jobs as the hardest-nurse, doctor, paramedic, police officer, firefighter, surgeon, healthcare worker, bomb squad, farmer, and prison warden. Of the jobs listed which would you say is the hardest? The one you'd most like to do? Least like to do? What's one job you would add to the list?

Currently I'm going to say being a police officer in America is the toughest job there is, and the one I'd least like to do. Of the jobs listed the one I'd like most would probably be nursing. I thought about being a nurse while in college, then changed my major to speech pathology which was also a rewarding field. 

What job would I add to the list? How about window washers on our city skyscrapers? Or oil rig workers, the people who climb those ginormous communication towers...anything where you need your wits about you to do your work all the while knowing there is a danger of falling from a great height. Shudder. 

4. A recipe you make that is labor intensive, but worth it?

My mamas homemade enchilada recipe. They take me all day, but of course that could just be me. Honestly they've always taken my mom a fair chunk of time to put together too, so I think it's just a labor intensive recipe. Worth it? Absotively posilutely!!

5. Last job you did or task you completed that required teamwork?

I feel like hubs and I do things on a fairly regular basis that require teamwork of some sort. Managing the dogs (I'll feed while he waters), getting the kayaks back on the rack (he lifts and I help guide then in to place and hang on to the straps), docking the boat (I hang the bumpers while he maneuvers the boat into the slip, then I carefully, and also occasionally not so carefully, step off and pull us in), and the list goes on. We docked the boat more than once this weekend so that's probably the best example of recent teamwork.  And good news! There was hardly any yelling or swearing. 

We need this shirt. 

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

Daughter2 has a birthday coming up this week and I will write a birthday post on the actual day because years ago she told me it's the one thing she looks forward to the most (no pressure Mom-ha!) but for today I want to share this-


For my beautifully strong hilarious girl on the eve of a brand new decade xoxo 



Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 385

I don't know why, but a post-holiday weekend Hodgepodge always catches me by surprise. Here are this week's questions...you supply the answers on your own blog then hop back here on Wednesday to share answers with the universe.  See you there-

1. Something you've done in recent days or months that might be described as a labor of love?

2. Last time you 'worked your fingers to the bone'?

3. According to a recent survey people named the following ten jobs as the hardest-nurse, doctor, paramedic, police officer, firefighter, surgeon, healthcare worker, bomb squad, farmer, and prison warden. Of the jobs listed which would you say is the hardest? The one you'd most like to do? Least like to do? What's one job you would add to the list?

4. A recipe you make that is labor intensive, but worth it?

5. Last job you did or task you completed that required teamwork?

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Hodgepodge Seconds

Welcome to another edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge. If you've answered on your own blog, add your link at the end of my post then go say howdy to your neighbor there. Here we go-


1. The Hodgepodge lands on the second day of a brand new month. Tell us one thing you're looking forward to in September.

If you've been reading here a while then you'll know it's my birthday month. Also hubs birthday month and Daughter2's birthday month but let's talk about mine-ha! If you're a friend of ours on social media you'll be sick of us by the end of the month. It feels like we're everywhere. 

That being said, I think this year I'm more excited about Daughter2's birthday than my own, which I guess is motherhood in a nutshell. It's just so great to see her so happy and feeling excited about the new decade headed her way. 

2. Do you enjoy browsing second-hand shops? Last thing you bought or 'inherited' second hand?

I'm not really a second-hand shop kind of shopper. I like donating items there, but don't do a lot of browsing in flea markets, consignment stores, or charity shops. 

Last thing we inherited or got second-hand? Does a dog count? 

3. Something you had second thoughts about after committing to, purchasing, or posting/commenting  online?

A volunteer role I took on several years ago immediately springs to mind. It was not for me and I think I knew that when I said yes because I had second thoughts almost as soon as I agreed to it.  I should have paid better attention. 

4. What's a product or service you use that you'd rate as second to none?

Lots of things, but one would be a company we use that auto ships the air filters for our house. You select how often you want them and they customize your order to whatever size filters fit your home. It's a no brainer, completely reliable, one of those things you don't have to remember to do because when they show up at your door you know it's time to change the filters.  

This isn't a paid endorsement btw, but here's the website if you're interested. Ironically it's called Second Nature 

5. Something you do so often or that comes so naturally to you it's second nature ?

I feel like with the age I am now most tasks require some level of concentration or intention. I suppose in practical terms there are a number of meals I cook on a regular basis that I can prepare without thinking too hard or referring to the written recipe. 

If you want something deeper I'll say looking for the bright side of life.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Yesterday was hubs birthday and on his birthday he always asks for a chocolate cake. Chalk it up to 2020, but this year he said he wanted key lime pie. I haven't made one in ages, but the recipe found here is so goodEven better, the mancub facetimed so he could help sing and blow out the candle. 


This might be the thing I'm most looking forward to about my own birthday in a couple of weeks.



Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 384

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 Hodgepodge lands on the second day of a brand new month. Tell us one thing you're looking forward to in September.

2. Do you enjoy browsing second-hand shops? Last thing you bought or 'inherited' second hand?

3. Something you had second thoughts about after committing to, purchasing, or posting/commenting  online?

4. What's a product or service you use that you'd rate as second to none?

5. Something you do so often or that comes so naturally to you it's second nature ?

6. Insert your own random thought here.

    Yeehaw!

    I'd call this post a weekend roundup except it's Tuesday.
    Do we say Tuesday is part of the weekend now?

    If you're retired you do.



    Anyway, happy birthday to the hubs! This picture is from last year back when you could really celebrate life's milestones. No worrying about masks or hand sanitizer or gatherings of whatever size you wanted. 

    Today is still his day though, and while we won't have a houseful like we did last year, won't have any daughters in the house like we did last year, or a fun lake party like we had last year, we'll still mark the occasion with a birthday dinner of his choosing and a homemade dessert. Topped with a candle because that's the law.

    We had a fun couple of days this past weekend with shhh...out of town company. I feel like I need to whisper that or at least explain, because people feel free to weigh in on whatever anyone is doing right now. Rest assured we spent pretty much the entire weekend out of doors. 

    Our friends haven't been anywhere and we haven't been anywhere so we decided to be nowhere together. They arrived from the Volunteer State late Friday afternoon, and hubs grilled wings on the Big Green Egg, his best batch yet if I do say so myself. We had a charcuterie board to go with and we sat on our deck and fell right back into our old ways of talking and laughing and remembering and it was so so good. 

    True story-hubs and I spent nearly every weekend of our first year of married life at their house and we're all still exactly the same. I didn't take a single picture so you'll have to trust me on that. 

    Wait. I did take one picture of... guess what? 


    The evening sky. 

    The weather was supposed to be stormy on Saturday, but the wind blew those clouds right on out of here and weather wise it was one of the most beautiful weekends we've had all summer. We spent the day on the water boating and swimming off the dock and the sun shone and it was Grand. 

    Yes, with a capital G. 

    I made a pot roast in the crock pot Saturday because I thought we'd have rain but it ended up being the perfect thing. I was able to enjoy the whole day outside without worrying about dinner and I don't know why I don't use my crock pot more in warm weather. Of course we dined al fresco since that's our favorite thing, and also because it's 2020.  

    Our friends headed home late Sunday morning then hubs and I boated over to Daughter1's in-laws house to catch up in person, everyone on their own raft. We ended up talking and floating for hours. Summer has been so weird and we were overdue for a full weekend of lake living. 

    Also we never tire of talking about all the fun things our grand boys say and do and agreeing on how completely adorable they are and how we're the luckiest of the lucky. 

    Speaking of adorable...this little guy is ten whole months old.


    He's still chill, still darling and daring and precious, and still 7000+ miles from his Nana. And I know the mancub would love to be here sitting on his Pawpaw's lap today, helping to blow out the birthday candles...


    ...but a kiss blown from the other side of the world is pretty great too. 

    Thursday, August 27, 2020

    Three Things August

    Since I can't talk about the weather every day I decided today I'd participate in this fun little hop I saw on Rebecca's blog (Knit By God's Hand). It's a nod to another month winding down, the good, the bad, and the ugly. The plans, no-plans, and the cancelled plans too since it's been that kind of summer. Bonus! You get to hear what I've been eating and googling this month. You're welcome.

    Also, I think we know I could (and probably will) talk about the weather every day.
    It's gorgeous here at the moment btw.

    Okay,  here we go-

    Three things I like about August
    1. Sunday evening sunset kayaking with the neighbors
    2. my knockout roses still a-bloom
    3. it's almost my birthday : )

    Three things I dislike about August
    1. flies-they've never been a problem before but this summer they're a nuisance. Thanks 2020.
    2. chaos, law-breakers, and violence in America's cities
    3. we're still not doing much in person with our people

    Three goals for the rest of August (guess I better get busy-ha!)
    1. buy a birthday gift
    2. mail a baby gift
    3. finish the book I'm reading-Irreversible Damage by Abigail Schrier.

    Has anyone read this one? It's really disturbing and it's non-fiction.

    Three things I thought I'd use more this year
    1. my car
    2. my calendar
    3. my guest room

    Three things I never thought I'd use as much this year
    1. ZOOM
    2. hand sanitizer
    3. a face mask

    Three things I'm into right now
    1. FaceTime with the grands
    2. Home Chef
    3. Coffee with the sunrise from my back deck


    Three things I've googled lately
    1. best baby/toddler board books
    2. home owner's insurance comparison quotes
    3. matching family Christmas pajamas

    Three foods I've survived on in Corona summer
    1. watermelon (let's be honest...this is what I survive on in non Corona summers too)
    2. home grown cucumbers
    3. tomatoes right off the vine...so thankful for my daughter's in-laws who've kept us well supplied

    Your turn...leave me a comment if you play along. And if these questions don't suit you feel free to change 'em up.






    Wednesday, August 26, 2020

    The Dog Days Of A Summer Hodgepodge

    Welcome to another edition of The Wednesday Hodgepodge. If you've answered today's questions  add your link at the end of my post, then be sure to leave a comment for the blogger linking before you. That's how the Hodgepodge rolls-






    1. The Hodgepodge lands on National Dog Day this year (August 26th). Do you own a dog? Did you have a dog when you were growing up, or maybe some other kind of pet? Would you say you're more of a dog person or a cat person? Neither is okay too : )

    Do we own a dog? Trick question-ha! Technically no, but we have two living with us and one will likely stay on as ours once our daughter and her family return stateside. We haven't set that in stone, but he's so happy here and loves the lake so I imagine he's going to stay with us for good. 



    Plus they might have to wrestle hubs down to get him back even though he sometimes makes us a little bit crazy. Don't all dogs sometimes make you crazy? 

    Daughter2 will be taking her sweet pup with her into married life many states away. 



    And we'll cry in the driveway because her dog never makes us crazy. 
    Well almost never. 

    I grew up with a dog in the house and am definitely a dog person. I'm allergic to cats. 

    2. Last time you felt 'dog tired'?

    That's extra extra tired, right? Utterly exhausted as opposed to the normal 'age I am' kind of tired? I probably haven't felt dog tired since the Asia jet lag we experienced back in the fall. 

    Although there was one morning this summer hubs and I pulled weeds in the high heat and ridiculous humidity and I pretty much felt like I'd been run over by a truck the rest of the day. 

    3. It's said you can't teach an old dog new tricks. When did you last prove this idiom true or prove it wrong?

    I feel like I mostly prove this true, but every now and then I figure out some trick of technology (usually with a lot of help from my girls) and when that happens I feel like I could rule the world. It's the little things people.

    4. A favorite book, television show, or movie featuring a dog. Why did you love it?

    Without a doubt my favorite dog book is Where The Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls, which I've sobbed through more than a time or two. Pretty sure to qualify as a good dog book tears should be shed in the reading. 

    Why do I love it? It's an old fashioned-never gets old story of a ten year old boy and his coonhounds living in the Ozark Mountains, which sounds like it might be boring but I assure you it is not. The writing is so wonderful and the story nestles right into that part of your heart where the memory of childhood remains. You really just need to read it for yourself. 

    5. Last time you had reason to (literally or figuratively) exclaim 'hot diggity dog'?

    This phrase is defined as an exclamation of surprise or delight so I'm going with earlier this summer when our soon-to-be son-in-law asked Daughter2 to be his bride. Hot diggity! 


    6.  Insert your own random thought here.

    The weather, like so many things this year, has not been super stellar. Still we are taking advantage of pretty sunset skies when we can and Sunday was one of those days.


    In 2020 find beauty where you can. 



    Tuesday, August 25, 2020

    Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 383

    Here are the questions to this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge. I think you know the drill, but in case anyone is new I'll go ahead and re-state the 'how-to's. Answer the questions on your own blog, then hop back here tomorrow to add your link to the party.  See you there!



    1. The Hodgepodge lands on National Dog Day this year (August 26th). Do you own a dog? Did you have a dog when you were growing up, or maybe some other kind of pet? Would you say you're more of a dog person or a cat person? Neither is okay too : )

    2. Last time you felt 'dog tired'?

    3. It's said you can't teach an old dog new tricks. When did you last prove this idiom true or prove it wrong?

    4. A favorite book, television show, or movie featuring a dog. Why did you love it?

    5. Last time you had reason to (literally or figuratively) exclaim 'hot diggity dog'?

    6.  Insert your own random thought here.

    Thursday, August 20, 2020

    Time Passages

    In yesterday's Hodgepodge I asked readers what they were doing five years ago, and decided I'd make that more or less the subject of today's post. When not a lot is going on in your corner of the world you have to reach a little for blog content.

    After I asked the question it occurred to me that we've been at this whole Corona mess for five long months (feels like years) so I started wondering what we were doing just prior, and decided to take a peek back at that too.

    Five months ago...we were in the first few days of everybody stay home !!! Stay far and away from everybody else in the entire world including your own extended family !!! Now in our house we'd been discussing the virus for a solid two months prior as it hit South Korea hard in January. A friend reminded me yesterday how we'd had a conversation back then, so concerned about my daughter and her family, never imagining we'd be in the same boat just a short time later.


    Five months ago hubs and I drove home after spending a long weekend with friends in Florida. Things were open when we headed down, but closed by the time we headed home. The shutdown happened almost overnight. We ate lunch at Chick-fil-a coming back and it was only their first or second day of strictly take out. Of course Chick-fil-a is awesome and handled the upheaval like it was no big deal.

    I don't know if anyone imagined in March we'd still be slogging through this insanity five months later, yet here we are. Who's over it?

    Five years ago...I wrote a post entitled Retirement Day 187. Currently we are in Retirement Day 2000 so I guess time really does fly when you're having fun. By the way, it's going swimmingly.


    Except for the pandemic and the unrest across America and the general nastiness online and the no travel-no-houseguests-no making plans, but other than that it's going swimmingly.

    Five years ago we took a fun trip up the East Coast to attend a friend's daughter's wedding.


    We drove from New Jersey to Prince Edward Island Canada and thoroughly enjoyed eating our weight in lobster rolls, the staggering beauty of Maine and PEI, and in-person time spent with real life friends.


    Also, five years ago I apparently still took pictures with a good camera and not just so-so pictures with a phone.

    I would so love to jump in the car and take a road trip somewhere new and pretty and not give a thought to hotel cleanliness, gloving up to pump gas, masking up to get out of the car, or doing math to calculate how many gallons of hand sanitizer we'd need for the journey.

    Five years ago we sold our house in New Jersey and spent six weeks living with my mama before heading south. I'm sure she was ready for us to take all our stuff and get on with things, but five years later would give anything to have us back in her house for six weeks.


    Six days even.
    I haven't seen my mom in person since January.

    While we were living with my mom our old and beloved dog died. Five years later her name is still mentioned on a fairly regular basis with an ache in our hearts and smiles on our faces.


    NJ winters could easily last into summer, but this photo wasn't actually taken in August. I like it though, and it is five years old. This beautiful pup was something else and when she was gone we said we'd never have another. Letting them go is too hard and we travel too much and have too much company and blah blah blah.


    About that same time Daughter1 brought a puppy into her Washington State home and now that puppy is a five year old dock diver living his best life on a Carolina lake. Go figure. And his mama is raising our two favorite boys on the other side of the world, which is something else we didn't see coming five years back.


    Five years ago we moved from New Jersey to South Carolina. Not to this house, but to a cozy apartment just across the parking lot from Daughter2's cozy apartment. Those were the days!


    Well maybe not really 'the days' because it wasn't a huge amount of space, and we were so anxious and excited to get this house built, but also yes it kind of really was 'the days'. Apartment living meant we didn't have to think about home maintenance and repairs, dock maintenance and repairs, boat maintenance and repairs, catching beavers before they destroy the landscaping, and a host of other assorted bits and bobs that go hand in hand with home ownership.


    Then again, there were no early morning lake sunrises where the sky turns pink before your very eyes, no magical light dancing on the water, no boating to dinner, no big porches for napping and reading and enduring this weird season that in 2015 we didn't know was coming, and for that I'm grateful.

    Five months may have dragged, but five years have flown.
    Time is funny like that.

    "The best thing about the future is it comes one day at a time." 
    attributed to various speakers...true for us all

    Wednesday, August 19, 2020

    High Five From The Hodgepodge

    Welcome to this week's edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge. If you've answered the questions add your blog link at the end of my post, then leave a comment for your neighbor on the list. Here we go-


    1. Five years ago this month hubs and I relocated from New Jersey to the Palmetto State. What were you doing five years ago this month?

    I mentioned we moved, but when I glanced back at my photos I saw a few other things were happening too. I have some thoughts so instead of writing a short answer here I think I'll make this the subject of my Thursday post. Why use fifty words when you can use 250? 

    2. What was the last 9-5 job you worked? Tell us about it.

    It has been a long time since I've worked a 9-5 job. The last full time job I held was serving as the Director of a local church preschool in the state of Maryland. To put it another way that was four moves ago. 

    I loved it though. I remember standing in front of a crowded sanctuary filled with parents, and telling them I was leaving. I got so teary I could hardly speak. It was a job that was well suited to my temperament and training, the people were wonderful, and it was a really nice place to work. 

    3. Plead the fifth, high five, take five, it's five o'clock somewhere, or the big 5-0...which number five phrase relates to your life in some way currently? Tell us how.

    Hmmm...maybe the big 5-0? I wrote a whole post about that decade here (Check Engine Light), and with another big birthday coming up fast I suppose the calendar turning has been on my mind.  

    4. During this season of spending so much time at home, what distractions get in the way of being your most productive? Or have you been extra productive since this whole thing started?

    Definitely not standing in the extra productive camp. I need a little pressure to get things done and the past few months have (in a sense) been pressure free. No deadlines, no company coming, no trips  to plan, nothing to shop for...everything feels like it can be done another day.  

    I do meal plan, grocery shop, cook, and all the basic household chores get done, but I'm not one of those people who've learned to speak Italian, took up painting, or reorganized their attic just because they've had a lot of time to fill. I'm more of a let's read a book on the porch kind of pandemic survivor. 

    5. Give us a list here of your top five anything.

    Not sure if this is my top five, but here are five Instagram accounts I enjoy following, all pretty much politic-free. I am so over that side of social media. 

    Chateau de Gudanes-the ongoing restoration of an old chateau set in the south of France. 
    Cristin Cooper- a semi-local instagrammer sharing southern style, home and all things beauty
    Half Baked Harvest-NYT best selling author of HBH Super Simple Cookbook
    National Trust -protecting special places and outdoor spaces in the UK
    Ruth Chou Simmons-mom to six boys, artist and author, founder of @gracelaced

    6. Insert your own random thought here.

    Life feels like a whole bunch of random lately, which is maybe why I've been struggling to fill this question #6 space the past few weeks. We had friends come for dinner Tuesday night (on the patio because 2020) and I made a delicious creme brulee for dessert. How's that for random? I use the recipe found here.






    Tuesday, August 18, 2020

    Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 382

    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 the other world wide webbers. See you there!


    1. Five years ago this month hubs and I relocated from New Jersey to the Palmetto State. What were you doing five years ago this month?

    2. What was the last 9-5 job you worked? Tell us about it.

    3. Plead the fifth, high five, take five, it's five o'clock somewhere, or the big 5-0...which number five phrase relates to your life in some way currently? Tell us how.

    4. During this season of spending so much time at home, what distractions get in the way of being your most productive? Or have you been extra productive since this whole thing started?

    5. Give us a list here of your top five anything.

    6. Insert your own random thought here.

    Thursday, August 13, 2020

    2020 Tom Foolery

    It's been a couple of weeks since I've blogged anything more than the weekly Hodgepodge, so thought I'd play catch up here today. Talk about what's been been going on in our little corner of the world.

    So what has been going on?

    Well there's a pandemic. Did you hear? Ha! Whew. It's getting old, isn't it? I heard someone say it's starting to feel like a heavy wet blanket across the shoulders and I think she's right.  Today when I got up I thought, "I need a day off." From what though? It's not like we're doing all that much but I feel like I need a day off anyway.

    Earlier this week, or actually I guess it was last week, but who really knows because everyday is a lot like the one before, and a-ny-way...I opened the sliders to greet the morning, steaming cup of coffee in hand, took a deep breath, and yuck. The air smelled so fishy.

    We live on what is one of the cleanest lakes in all of North America and it never ever smells fishy, but this day it was definitely smelling fishy. I looked out towards the dock and saw a huuuge turkey vulture eating breakfast, right there on our shoreline.

    Raise your hand if turkey vultures kind of skeeve you out? Yeah.

    I told hubs he needed to walk down there, because I don't care if it is 2020, investigating and dealing with dead stuff is a man's job. It was in the handbook we were given when we said I Do.

    There wasn't a handbook, but I do have a mental list of rules and this is one of them, which hubs knows so he walked down there and then yelled for me to bring the camera. Hmmm. I yelled back, 'Is this going to be something I can't unsee?' and yes it was, but I brought the camera anyway.

    Y'all. This vulture was chowing down on the biggest catfish I've ever seen. His head was the size of a basketball and with his mouth wide open he looked even bigger. Hubs dealt with it, but all I could think about was how a vulture casually dining on the worlds biggest catfish right in my backyard is pretty much 2020 in a nutshell.

    Let's change topics. We had an earthquake. I know! We were sitting on our deck early Sunday morning and we felt the rumble, the deck shook a little which was a bit disconcerting, and our hanging lanterns started swaying. It lasted long enough to make you think, and we found out later a quake measuring 5.1 on the scale had it's epicenter about three hours from us.


    We also were treated to a rainbow last week which I guess balances things out. We've had so many rainbows this summer, so many crazy rainstorms where the sun keeps right on shining, I guess even the weather doesn't know which way is up right now. I do love a rainbow though, and while this one wasn't quite as vivid as the last it was still so pretty. After the weather cleared hubs and I hopped on the boat to catch the sunset because we knew we'd get a good one.


    We were right.

    This has nothing to do with the weather or unusual occurrences (unless you count people coming over for dinner as an unusual occurrence), but we had some friends come for dinner Monday evening (outdoors of course) and I baked this salted caramel butter cake that was as delicious as it sounds.


    I took this right after I poured the caramel butter sauce over the cake, and after it cools you remove it from the pan and drizzle the top with a salted caramel syrup. So good! You can find the recipe here. 

    In other delicious news, this little guy is all of nine months old now and he is such a joy.


    Big brother started a little preschool program two mornings a week and we are just loving watching them both grow and learn and discover something new about the world every day.


    The distance stinks, and hubs and I might throw tiny little pity parties for one another now and then, never in the same moment though, which helps. My daughter is wonderful about keeping us connected, which we appreciate more than words can say.


    Sunday evening we kayaked with a few neighbors over to a nearby island because you never ever tire of sunsets on the lake and this one was a beauty.


    The temperature was perfection, the night quiet, and the lake still. With every exhale you feel your cares float further and further away.


    When life is fragile and uncertain it helps to know the One who sets the sun.