Wednesday, April 28, 2021

An Xceptional Hodgepodge

Welcome to another edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Also my entry for today's letter X in the A-Z Blog Challenge (see question #6). If you've answered today's questions add your link at the end of my post, then leave a comment for the blogger before you. 

From this Side of the Pond

1. What are some memories you associate with spring? 

My mom's big bed of blooming iris in the corner of our yard. Clothes on the line. Iced tea because we didn't drink iced tea year round when I was growing up. 

With my own girls it meant ballet recitals, end of year musical performances, kids in the neighborhood staying outside just a little bit longer, camping, bike rides...shaking off winter's chilly grayness, which was welcome in December but by spring has become a bit tiresome. 

2. April showers bring May flowers...was that saying proven true where you live? Snapdragons, anemones, carnations, lilacs, sweet peas, tulips, lily of the valley, orchids, roses, gardenias...which one on that list is your favorite May bloom? 

Absolutely true here. It has been a rainy winter and a rainy spring so far. 2021 people. Now, how do I pick a favorite bloom??? That's like asking me to pick a favorite child. My daughter2 had the most gorgeous anemones in her wedding bouquet so they are high on my list. 

And who doesn't love a big bunch of tulips or a whole farm-full? Lilacs have the sweetest aroma, I had orchids in my own wedding, and have roses and gardenias in my yard. If you make me choose I'll say tulips. 

3. What are your top three distractions and how do you deal with them? 

My phone, my phone, and my phone. Honestly nothing compares to the distraction of my phone. How do I deal with it? I spend too much time on it, that's how-ha!  I'm thinking cold turkey might be the way to go. 

4. Do you eat beef? In the course of a week, how often is beef on the menu? A hamburger, steak, prime rib, or a roast beef dinner...which beef entree would you choose and yes you have to choose. Unless you're a vegan, and then you may pass. 

I do eat beef and I like all of the foods listed. My choice would depend on my mood and what else had been on the menu that week. If I could only have one of those for the rest of my life it would be a hamburger. We have beef in some form about once a week. 

5. In what way were you creative during the month of April?

Well I blogged my way through the alphabet in the April A-Z Challenge. Does that count? I cooked and baked both and that feels somewhat creative. 

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Day 24 in the A to Z Blog Challenge...

X is for Xtra

As in these little guys are extra Xtra special.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

What, me worry?

So I didn't really want to write another post about this word, but every time I thought letter W there it was. Day 23 in the A to Z Blog Challenge-

W is for worry

I've written a number of posts that feature or touch on this topic, and one that really struck me was this one (linked here) written mid-way through my 50's. Since I've rounded the corner on another new decade I thought I'd see how things are looking now.

Welcome to grandparenting where your list of things to worry about grows longer than your arm.  

But only if you let it. 

Here's the thing...I believe God knows worry is something I fight against so He helps make that easier by continually orchestrating the circumstances of my life in such a way that I have no choice but to trust Him.  

My grandchildren live in South Korea and let me just state for the record, you have very little control over anything happening on the other side of the world. Maybe if your grandchildren live right down the block you would say the same about your geography because that's the nature of grandparenting. 

We meet these perfect (to us) little people and we want only sunlight and goodness to touch their lives always and forever amen. We love with abandon because that is our role and also our delight. 

Oh I could worry about all the many things including transatlantic flights, Covid before anyone uttered the word here but did there, North Korea shenanigans, your precious daughter giving birth in a hospital where nobody speaks English, small adorable children crossing busy streets in a foreign city, your daughter driving in said foreign city, missing birthday parties, school programs, and everyday ordinary fun, but you cannot do anything about any of it.

Except pray. Prayer is the antidote to worry. 
That was true when I was 50 and it's still true today. 

Today's young parents are raising children in an era that's different from the one in which we raised ours. They have to make decisions about so many things that were never on our radar. Internet anyone? I'm sure there are times we grandparents offer opinions unasked, and for that we are sorry.

It's just that we're your parents and occasionally still like to weigh in on your life. Partly because parenting is a habit, but mostly because the way you love your little people is the way we love you. And that will never change. 

My daughter is the best mother I know. I can look back over her life and see so clearly how God made her ready for this season of parenting little ones far from 'home'. 

There's no need to worry...

I know He's made me ready too. 

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 417

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

From this Side of the Pond

1. What are some memories you associate with spring? 

2. April showers bring May flowers...was that saying proven true where you live? Snapdragons, anemones, carnations, lilacs, sweet peas, tulips, lily of the valley, orchids, roses, gardenias...which one on that list is your favorite May bloom? 

3. What are your top three distractions and how do you deal with them? 

4. Do you eat beef? In the course of a week, how often is beef on the menu? A hamburger, steak, prime rib, or a roast beef dinner...which beef entree would you choose and yes you have to choose. Unless you're a vegan, and then you may pass. 

5. In what way were you creative during the month of April?

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Monday, April 26, 2021

Good Morning Vietnam

We've reached the final week in this year's A-Z Blog Challenge and these last few letters are always a doozie. Here we go-

V is for Valor

Dear Darling Grandboys living on the other side of the world, 

Nana misses you. When we talk via Facetime I want to cry from the missing, but you're so precious and so hilarious I smile instead. You live on the other side of the world because your Daddy is serving his country in the US Army. My daddy served his country too. You never got to know him, but you hear stories about your Poppie and that helps a little. 

In going through some boxes recently at your Mema's house in preparation for her move, your great aunt found a letter I'd written to my Dad (your great-grandfather) when he was in Vietnam. That's on your side of the world but to a not quite nine year old in 1969 it might as well have been the moon.

The letter is written on purple paper and I used four different colored markers to make it feel extra special. Across the top I've written Remember I Love You and I circled it too so he wouldn't forget. 

There are so many things I love about this letter, the first being my question to him asking-'What are you doing over there?' with a follow up ...."I hope you are having a good time." At age nine I did not know or understand the first thing about how war worked and for that I am so very grateful. 

I was telling my brother about the letter and he said that's exactly the kind of letter you want to get when you're fighting a war a world away. One that tells you the ordinary thoughts and doings of your little girl. One that reminds you home is a safe place and love lives there. 

The other thing I absolutely treasure about this letter is my dad kept it. He brought it back home with him when he returned from Vietnam. It was tucked away and this is the first I've seen it in decades. I guess the magic markers were not the only thing that made it special. 

Boys be proud of your homeland. Of America. The small towns and big cities. The natural beauty from coast to coast, her purple mountain majesty and amber waves of grain. 

The peoples so incredibly diverse in their race, religion, thought, and voice. 

The opportunities that abound for anyone willing to work hard. 

The risk takers and the homebodies. The volunteers, the philanthropists, the boy who mows his elderly neighbor's lawn. 

The generosity and unity of spirit we embrace when calamity occurs.

The freedom we have to pray, worship, gather. 

The freedom we have to speak, choose our leaders, be who and what we want to be. 

This is our foundation. It's what those early patriots envisioned when they put pen to paper and birthed a nation that would live on long after they were gone. It's what they gave their life's blood to and for, and what our service men and women have been defending ever since. 

Be proud of the men and women who sacrifice so much to defend the ideals this nation was founded upon. Noble ideals set in motion by imperfect people doing the best they could with what they knew in the times in which they lived. 

Is America a perfect place? No. There are no perfect places. But your country, the US of A, is better than most. She is a nation still growing up, a nation willing to learn from her mistakes, a nation longing to always do better, be better. Be proud of that and know too, how incredibly fortunate you are to be a citizen of the land of the free and the home of the brave. 

When I signed off on my letter to Poppie I told him I couldn't wait until September 29th, the day he would come home. That I was counting the days. Know I am doing the same for you. 


Saturday, April 24, 2021

The ABC's Of Gratitude

It's time for my Saturday list of things I think are pretty grand. I'm not lying when I say today's letter in the A-Z Blog Challenge was a bit of a brain strain. It was also kind of fun. What would make your list today? 

U is for Uncontested Small Grand Things

understated elegance
an understanding friend
our unchanging God
an umbrella at hand on a rainy day
a grandbaby ultrasound
unbelievably beautiful sunrises
kind words uttered
unshakeable faith
the London underground
unselfish acts 
an underdog victory
our flag unfurled against a cloudless bright blue sky
sensible people in an upside down world
unfettered joy
dinner under the stars
unbroken promises
unspoiled vistas
a flight upgrade
useful information shared
unwinding at the end of a busy day

Friday, April 23, 2021

Take Those Old Records Off The Shelf

Continuing with my theme in this month's A-Z Blog Challenge. We are on the home stretch people-whoohoo!  

T is for Tunes

Let's talk music. Or rather how we listen to music because writing about it made me feel almost ancient. 

When I was a child my sister and I had a record player in our room. It played one record at a time and you had to lift the arm, which held the needle, and place it ever so gently on the edge of the album while the album was turning. Voila! Music! 

Also a little static-y white noise but we didn't care. We had music in our very own bedroom.

The albums had ridges in them to indicate where one song ended and the next began and if you wanted to skip a song you would try your best to land that needle right on the ridge. Sometimes you let go of the arm a little too quickly and it would skid across the record and leave a nice big scratch. Or a skip as we used to call it, as in 'This record has a skip in it'. 

I feel like I'm speaking Hungarian to the under 30's reading here today. 

I remember when my older sister got her first stereo which was very exciting!! You loaded the record onto the stereo and the stereo gently dropped the album into place and then gently dropped the arm with the needle too, so less mishaps, less scratches. This was 1960's technology at it's finest and we were there for it. 

Stereos were not small. In fact you could purchase a piece of furniture with a stereo inside, but my sister's sat on a stereo cabinet in her room. It had space to store the albums in the two door cabinet below and was part of her bedroom set-canopy bed, desk, dresser, stereo cabinet. She was a few years older than my younger sister and I and a teenager when we were still in grade school. She would let us come in her room and dance on her bed. Did my mom know? We didn't care, we loved it!!

Besides albums we had 45's. 45 stood for speed as opposed to 33s and 78s. 45s were small records with an A side and a B side, and in general the song on the B side was not as good as the song on the A side. You wore out the A side, but rarely played the B. When my kids discovered our albums they were fascinated at the idea of flipping a record over to hear music on the back. You couldn't do that with a CD now, could you?

In order to play a 45 you needed a plastic disc device (called a spider ) to click into place in the record's center so the 45 would fit on the stereo. Today we'd probably call it an adaptor. We had a little box to store our 45's and it was great fun to look through and choose a song. Then you went through all the rigamarole to get it to play and it was magic. 

When I was growing up there was no video so the only way you really knew what a band looked like, unless you saw them in concert, was via their album. Getting a new album was like opening a new book. The sleeves often had the bands picture on front or maybe inside, but sometimes they just had artwork and you were left wondering. Psychedelic artwork because it was the 60's/70's. 

My favorite were the albums whose insert included all the song lyrics because in 1970 something you couldn't google song lyrics. Or ask Siri. Or Alexa. Instead you just sang what you thought you heard until someone corrected you. We would play a song over and over and over trying to figure out a particular line and we spent a lot of time listening to music. Not doing other things while listening to music, but listening for the sake of listening. Playing records was an experience. 

When I was in high school I got an 8-track cassette player. I would tell you 8-tracks were about the size of a VHS tape, except again Hungarian. Suffice it to say they were large but you just popped them in to the player and hit play and that was pretty simple. The sound wasn't all that great, and they didn't hang around long, because cassettes entered our world and we thought we'd won the lottery. 

We bought our favorite bands. We made mix tapes. We tried to record from the radio. We had to rewind and sometimes the player was overly zealous and you'd have to take a pencil and put it into the little holes and rewind all the tape that had escaped by hand. You have to admit we were resourceful if nothing else. 

When cars added cassette players as a feature we were over the moon. We could listen to our own music instead of the radio which, prior to, was our only option. And if you were in the car with your dad you were generally not in charge of the radio. ahem. 

The early 80's brought the walkman, which was a portable cassette player. People literally walked around carrying a cassette player with headphones attached. Not tiny little light weight super comfortable air buds mind you, but actual headphones. Like pilots wear. We were cool. 

I remember the first time I heard a CD played. My brother was always ahead of his time music wise and he demonstrated the CD for me. There was nary a crackle and it was completely amazing. Hubs once had a company car with a five disc changer in the trunk and we thought that was the best thing ever. At the time it was, music wise. Course you had to load it before you drove anywhere, but still you could listen to five discs in a row without stopping. 

True story. I still listen to CD's in my car. I know they are no longer even putting CD players in cars but mine has one and I jam to my favorites. I also have been known to ask the librarian where the 'books on tape' are and she looks at me like I have two heads but old habits die hard. 

Today we hold our music in our hands, take it everywhere we go, never have to wonder who sang what song, what that lyric actually says and what the artist meant by it, or what year the song was written. And I'm just going to say we are missing out on so many great conversations about all of the above. 

In 2021 we have Sonos and Sirius, Pandora and Alexa, Spotify and iTunes. We shout into the universe and a song floats into our airspace. My 18-month old grandson can call on Alexa to play Baby Shark and there it is. Play it again. Again. Alexa again. We no longer have to hold a button down to rewind, oops went to far, hold it down to fast forward, oops went too far...if you lived it you know. 

We love music in our house and we listen to music in all the ways mentioned above. But we still have a stereo set up too. Hubs is not a DJ, but he plays one at home, and sometimes we pull out our old albums and we don't care that the sound is less than crystal clear. We love the memories they evoke, the nostalgia they stir up, the songs of our youth. 

"Call me a relic, call me what you will... Say I'm old fashioned, say I'm over the's music ain't got the same soul...I like that old time rock and roll." Bob Seeger, 1978

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Back In The Day

As part of the A-Z Blog Challenge this year, I'm trying to capture a little bit of what my life was like growing up, and record it here for my grands to read someday. Will they want to? Hmmm...we'll see. I  know I'd like to know more about my grandmother's childhood and maybe they will too.  

We all know the world has changed but writing it down forces me to acknowledge just how much. Today we're headed back to school. 

S is for School Days

Back in the day I walked to elementary school. That would be grades K-6, but Kindergarten was half- day and included a nap/rest. Those were the days-ha! The walk was about 7 blocks through the neighborhood and I always had my sister with me, along with our across the street neighbors and assorted other friends we collected en route. The kids in our neighborhood were tight and while we've all gone many different directions the ties from those long ago days still bind. 

As children we were taught not to talk to strangers, and to absolutely never get in a car with strangers, but for the most part there were no strangers, only neighbors. There was no scary internet or 24/7 news alerting parents to every awful thing out there, so a warning seemed sufficient. 

When I was in the first grade my friend and I were walking home for lunch, and a boy in my class was swinging his jacket overhead. The zipper caught me in the top of my head and I burst into tears and started running for home with blood gushing from the wound. When a woman working in her yard saw me racing by she ran to get her car keys and drive me the last two blocks. I told her no, I wasn't allowed to ride with strangers. 

Apparently my mama taught me well. 

Most kids had a mother at home, and we had a lunch/recess break from 12-1 every day. We walked home for lunch then went back for the remainder of the afternoon. This is such a happy memory for me. My mom would have lunch waiting at the kitchen table and she read aloud to us while we ate. In the winter there was often grilled cheese and tomato soup and to this day that meal whispers comfort to me. If it was raining she would drive us to school, but even then we often walked carrying an umbrella, wearing our galoshes with the buckles across the front. I think it was kind of fun to walk to school in the rain, and we lived for snow days which were rare and golden. 

We said the pledge of allegiance every single morning and I think sang a patriotic song right after too.  We memorized math facts, did book reports, and had classroom spelling bees while lined up all along the radiator. We learned about our nations presidents and patriots, how a bill became a law, and the birth of a nation. I don't think our parents worried about what they were teaching because it was the basics without a lot of fluff. Reading, writing, arithmetic, science and American history. 

We were not immersed in diversity training, gender identity issues, issues of any kind really. We were kids and the weight of the world was not on our shoulders at age 10. I'm not saying there weren't kids who struggled with various things, just that school was not the place they were dealt with. We respected our elders, and anyone who chose otherwise ended up in the principal's office. 

Nobody wanted to end up there. 

We didn't have back packs three times our size, but we did carry our books in our arms, or strapped together, or in a satchel. At the start of each new school year in homes throughout the neighborhood, an evening was  spent cutting apart brown paper grocery sacks and turning them into book covers. 

Even though we ate lunch at home we still liked to choose a lunchbox. There were just a handful of bus riders in our school and they ate their lunch brought from home in the cafeteria/auditorium/gymnasium. Or, as it was known then, the multipurpose room. If your mom needed you to stay for lunch once in a while she could request that. We thought it was fun, bringing a packed lunch and buying those little cartons of milk. We were pretty easy to please in 1970-something. 

There was softball out back and teeter-totters where you were occasionally bounced off by an overly aggressive counterpart, or just plain dropped when someone jumped off with no warning. You remember these things. There was dodge ball in the big circle painted on the blacktop and more often than not somebody cried. Sometimes kids were too rough or mean-spirited, but not all life lessons are learned in a classroom. We had to pass a physical fitness test in gym class which included running what felt like a mile, but might not have been that far. We had big field days at the end of each year where we played games and ate orange popsicles on the playground. Happy days. Carefree days. Innocence. 

Grades 7 and 8 aka junior high meant leaving the cozy environs of our neighborhood school and riding a bus for the first time. Our circles expanded to include kids from several other elementary schools in the area too, so there were new friends and new experiences. We had lockers and class schedules and wore uniforms for gym. They were the ugliest item of clothing ever created, and I dare you to prove me wrong. We had to shower too. At school. Nobody liked that and I'm guessing the feeling holds true today. Although I can't imagine kids shower after gym class in the year 2021, do they? 

Junior High meant weekends at the roller rink where our parents pulled up to the curb out front and dropped us off on a Saturday afternoon or a Friday evening. Can parents today even imagine that? There were boy-girl dances and varying levels of maturity and daring which will always be true of 7th graders the world over. 

Grades 9-12 meant high school and riding the bus a little bit further down the road. As an adult I've lived in towns with less people than my highschool, with over 900 kids in my grade alone. Students sorted themselves into groups...athletes, brainiacs, band folks, theatre people, stoners. You had to find a place to belong in this sea of faces and it wasn't always easy, but it was possible. 

Academically this was a competitive high school and I always cared about my grades, always looked to the future and what I wanted to be. There were all the usual activities that revolved around sporting events, musical productions, the prom, spirit boosters, etc. along with a lot of academic opportunities too. We took a class called typing and who knew that would turn out to be so incredibly useful?

Like every decade, there were many things happening on the political scene, and lots of problems in the wider world too. While we certainly talked/debated these things within the classroom setting and around the dinner table, I don't think we felt it was our responsibility to fix them, or hold a well-formed stated opinion about everything under the sun, while still teenagers. Our job was to go to school, do our homework, study hard, navigate relationships, push the limits but still mind our parents, sleep, eat, have fun, and set goals for the future, both the immediate and the long term. 

The world was less known to us than it is to kids today. It didn't come to us, and if we wanted to see it and know it we read about it in books. Or traveled, although most families we knew didn't travel outside the US the way people do today. 

Looking back I so appreciate the gift of growing up in a world pre-internet. Sure there was peer pressure, but the in-person kind, not the sort teenagers have today where perfect strangers weigh in on your clothes, your hair, your weight, your opinions. 

Growing up I never viewed adults as my equal, nor did my friends. There was a clear line between the adults of this world and the children, and while I was as close as can be to my mama as a teenager, I would never have defined her as my friend. She was my mom and that meant something. It was a relief actually. My mom could take the long view on things I didn't yet have the vision to see, know, or understand. I'm sure my 17 year old self would have said I was all grown up, but at 17 you don't know what you don't know. 

I feel tremendous gratitude for parents who loved me, taught me to treat those older than me with respect, to say please, thank you, I'm sorry. Who set boundaries and made rules I'm sure my siblings and I thought were too strict and completely unnecessary, but in reality sheltered us from harm, kept us healthy, and in many instances stopped us from making regrettable decisions because we heard their voices in our head. 

I sometimes hear them still. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Taking A Chance On The Wednesday Hodgepodge

Welcome to the Wednesday Hodgepodge and also today's entry in the A-Z Blog Challenge (scroll to question #6). Which by the way, is kicking my booty and the reason you're getting a combo today. If you've answered this week's HP questions add your link at the end of my post, then leave a comment for the blogger before you. Hodgepodge links only please. Thanks! Now here we go-

From this Side of the Pond

1. Find a penny. Look at the date and tell us something about your life or what you were doing that year? 

This is when having a blog is helpful. The first penny I picked up was dated 2016, so not all that old.  We were smack dab in the middle of our home build that year, and in April I was blogging through the alphabet with posts about building, but also about home in general. 

Which looked like this-

Time flies when you're having fun. 

2. Were you given an allowance as a child? Did you have to earn it in some way? Did you learn to save money when you were a child or is that something you figured out as an adult? 

I was given an allowance as a child, at least for a short time. I feel like my parents tried, but we might have had to remind them? They had four kids so I get it. We definitely had chores to do, although they were not tied in with the allowance. They were tied in with being a child and also a member of a family where everyone does their part. I agree with that philosophy and raised my girls the same way. 

As far as learning to parents were wise with their money. They didn't overspend and they lived on a budget so I suppose I took that to heart. We were taught to put money in the offering plate each week and to save for things we wanted to buy because in 1970-something most parents didn't buy their kids the latest anything on a random Tuesday. We waited for our birthday or Christmas to roll around or we saved babysitting money/allowance money/birthday money to buy those things ourselves. We learned that want and need are not the same thing. 

I guess the biggest thing I learned was to work. Work hard, don't spend beyond your means, give to those in need, and save for a rainy day/emergency. 

3. April 23rd is National Take A Chance Day...what's a chance you need or want to take?

Pretty sure writing should be my answer.

4. What's some outdated slang you seem to use a little too often? 

hip (as in something is hip or not hip) is the first slang that springs to mind. My kids inform me if I use the word then I'm definitely not-ha.  

I feel like we should ask them to answer this one for me. I'm sure they could give you a long list. I like words and sometimes slang serves a purpose. 

5. It's National Poetry month and I always like to make us work our brains a little...

Roses are red
Violets are blue fill in the rest with something original...

Roses are red
Violets are blue
I'm sick of Covid
Aren't you? 

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

I'm going to use this space today for my A-Z Blog Challenge entry, and since we're talking money (sort of) I thought it would be fun to do some price comparisons. 

R is for Rising Costs and Changing Times

When Nana was 4...

gas was .25/gallon 
milk was 1.06/gallon
1st class stamp was .05
pay phone was .10
movie ticket was .93

When Nana was 4 most families only had one car. They wrote letters because if you wanted to communicate with someone who didn't live in your own house that was your best and most reliable option. Then you waited a couple of weeks or more and they wrote back. The world was in less of a hurry back then. Pay phones were prevalent and people always had a dime on them in case they needed to make a phone call. Going to the movies was a real treat and a much looked forward to outing

When your Momma was 4-

gas was 1.13/gallon
milk was 2.78/gallon
1st class stamp was .29
pay phone was .25
movie ticket 4.15

When your momma was 4 most families we knew had two cars. They still wrote letters because it was still the best, most efficient way of communicating with people who didn't live in your own house. Pay phones were still everywhere but now you needed a quarter in your pocket 'in case of emergency'. Going to the movies was a fun night out

When you are 4-

gas is 2.58/gallon and climbing
milk is 3.59/gallon
1st class stamp is .55
pay phones . 50 if you can find one
movie ticket 9.16

Today most families we know have at least two cars, more if they have teenagers living at home. A stamp? What do I do with that? Pay phones are few and far between but that doesn't matter because almost everyone has a phone on their person. 

Except we rarely make phone calls because texting is easier. We text friends many states away and we text family members who happen to be upstairs when we're downstairs. In the very same house. 

While theaters still exist these days we prefer to watch in our pjs from the comfort of our own homes. Sometimes on the phones we hold in our hands. 

"It's funny how day by day, nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different." 
author unknown

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Weekend ReQap

Day 17 in the April A-Z Blog Challenge and we've landed on letter Q. Since we had a fun weekend away I'm going to do a little recap here today. Which has nothing to do with my challenge theme focused on grandparenting, but I knew from the get-go there would be a few random entries sprinkled throughout. 

Hey, it wouldn't be my blog if you always knew what was coming, right? 

Q is for Quite The Weekend

Friends who go way way back hosted a wedding in Nashville this past weekend and we were so happy to be included in the celebration. It's been a long time since I've been in Nashville and the city has really grown up and out since Daughter2 and I made a campus visit to Vanderbilt in 2007. 

Let's not even mention she was a seventeen year old high school senior then because how can that be???

Anyhoo, Nashville. I love it. It could use a power wash, but it's a great city with loads of things to do. Music, sports, history, fun. It's a busy busy place and I'm pretty sure every bride-to-be in the continental United States has a hen party there now. The number of bachelorette groups we saw was ka-razy! You knew immediately that's what they were...boas round their necks and fluorescent pink, green, and purple wigs on their heads. 

I don't get the wigs. I sound old, but did y'all have a bachelorette party when you got married? That wasn't a thing when I got married. A night out sure, but not a whole weekend away with air travel and expensive hotel rooms. Times change and customs too and it seems like most brides now have a bachelorette shindig. 

We had a little side trip on the way to town which I'll for sure talk about one day soon, but for now let's stick to the wedding weekend.  

Nashville is a great mix of old and new. They have fully embraced the music scene and I'm here for it. The CMA's were happening on Sunday evening, but we didn't realize that until someone told us Blake Shelton had been in his bar the night before. If you watched the CMA's on tv they had about 10 people in the audience due to Covid restrictions. I'm here to tell you the streets were teeming with people and the bars were full to overflowing. It's such a mishmash of rules and no-rules that nobody really knows what's what. 

The groom is the son of one of our bestest college buds so most of our weekend revolved around wedding people and activities. We stayed at The Graduate which is a cute, funky hotel. There are several around the country but the Nashville hotel has a Dolly Parton theme and there are nods to her everywhere. The location is great and we'd definitely go back. 

Friday night we met up for dinner with more college friends and had the most enjoyable, leisurely meal at Husk, starting with an oyster topped with lemon sorbet and a splash of Sotol. 

After dinner we headed back to the hotel and met up with the the groom's parents, a couple of their neighbors also in town for the wedding, and the bride and groom. We gabbed and caught up and then called it a night. 

Saturday morning we went to breakfast at Midtown Cafe with our friends. So good! We girls had our hair done then met back up with the guys and headed over to Broadway to see what we could see. Which was a little bit of everything and has to be one of the world's best spots for people watching. We listened to music floating out of the various venues and decided to grab a seat in one, Kid Rocks Honky Tonk. It was so much fun, and we met people at the neighboring tables, and everyone seemed to be in a good mood. Country music can do that. 

It can also make you cry, but today was all about the happy. 

Which brings me to the wedding. The event was held outside the city limits but the couple had a shuttle for guests so we didn't have to drive. The ceremony and reception were in a pretty venue called The Front Porch, a farm like setting in the serene Tennessee countryside. There was a cocktail hour beside the pool, followed by the reception in a beautifully decorated new barn. 

The bride and groom married beneath an enormous old tree and the vows were something special y'all. I'm not going to tell their story because it's not mine to tell, but you needed more than one kleenex to make it through. 

We had a delicious supper and danced a lot because that's what we like to do. Eat and dance. Hubs, the groom's dad, and our Friday night dinner friend were all fraternity brothers some 40 years ago, and they can still impress the 'kids' with their moves. 

These two men standing with with hubs and the groom were in our wedding once upon a time and the long and lasting bonds of love and friendship we still share make these life markers feel extra special. 

Cheers to the adorable newlyweds and a lifetime of happiness! 

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 416

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. See you there! And if you're here for the A-Z blog challenge today's post will be up shortly. 

1. Find a penny. Look at the date and tell us something about your life or what you were doing that year? 

2. Were you given an allowance as a child? Did you have to earn it in some way? Did you learn to save money when you were a child or is that something you figured out as an adult? 

3. April 23rd is National Take A Chance Day...what's a chance you need or want to take?

4. What's some outdated slang you seem to use a little too often? 

5. It's National Poetry month and I always like to make us work our brains a little...

Roses are red
Violets are blue fill in the rest with something original...

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Monday, April 19, 2021

His Favorite People Call Him Pawpaw

True to form here I'm running a wee bit behind in posting today's entry in the A-Z Blog Challenge. In my defense we were out of town this past weekend, and I did not blog. Or think about blogging. Or say the alphabet. 

Since the day is already half over and hubs and I literally pulled in the driveway an hour ago, unloaded the car, unpacked suitcases, sorted mail, started laundry, and figured out what in the world I could put together for tonite's dinner I'm keeping it simple and going with the obvious. 

P is for Pawpaw
Dear Grandboys,

You have the world's best pawpaw. He is super fun which I know you've already discovered. As you grow you'll learn that Pawpaw is someone who grabs you by the hand and pulls you into the fun, even when you're unsure as to whether or not something will actually be fun.  

It's almost always fun, and you can trust Nana on that. She speaks from experience.  

Pawpaw loves to show you things... his pinewood derby cars, the fish he caught, the snakeskin he found in the yard, baby birds in the birdhouse, his pocket knife, his compass, his many wristwatches, various and assorted trinkets which you love to inspect while asking a million trillion questions as to their origin and use. 

He juggles.

He will ask you every time he sees you 'What time is it?' and the correct response is always 'Football time in Tennessee...go Big Orange!!' said loudly and with gusto. We love our Tigers too, but PawPaw is a Tennessee boy at heart. 

He was an eagle scout and has the skills to prove making skills, campfire cooking skills, knot tying skills, map reading skills...and he loves to share these skills with you. 

Pawpaw is always up for a spontaneous road trip, a spontaneous boat ride, or a spontaneous walk in the woods. Actually, spontaneous fun in general. 

He makes people laugh. 

He's never met a stranger. 

He knows a lot of random facts about a lot of random topics including but not limited to military aircraft, snakes, automobiles, sharks, the Civil War, outer space, Belgian beer, and the stars overhead. He can name a tune in just one note, is our resident DJ, and dancer extraordinaire. 

Pawpaw has seen the world, or a fair amount of it anyway, and if you name a city he will tell you where to go for dinner. 

He's a water rat and is never happier than when he's in the water, on the water, or beside the water. He can hold his breath a ridiculously long time, pop up on a slalom ski like he's still fifteen, and dock a boat with only a little bit of shouting at the first mate. 

Nana can't wait until you boys replace her as first mate. 

Your pawpaw was born to be a girl dad, and pawpaw to mighty little men. You are the light of his life and he can't wait to teach you things, learn new things, and see new things with you. 

The very best thing about your Pawpaw is that he feels things deeply and loves completely. He shows you and he tells you. 

Tuck that love inside your heart, and when the world is cold let it warm you from the inside out. 

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Alphabet Blessings

It's Saturday which means it's time for another list of small things I find are actually pretty grand. The only rule is the list must tie in someway with the letter of the day in this month's A-Z Blog Challenge. It's a fun exercise and I invite you to make a list of your own. Here we go-

O is for An Ongoing List

ordinary days
our omnipotent God
an organized pantry
old friends
college football teams whose colors are orange and white
hubs famous omelettes
toes in the ocean
overcoming a hurdle
olives of all kind and color
openhearted people
overnight guests
a fiery orange sunset
a plate of fried okra
objective reporting
special occasions
opportunities seized
obedient dogs
outdoor dining
not overthinking

Happy weekend everyone! 

Friday, April 16, 2021

N is for Guess Who

We've crossed the halfway point in the A-Z Blog Challenge and today have landed on letter N...

N is for Nana

When you know you're going to be a grandparent there are many things to consider. One of the first is settling on what name you'd like to be called. Or maybe your children decide for you? I know quite a few grandparents who let the grandchild come up with a name, but that can be risky teehee

Growing up we called both sets of my own grandparents Grandma and Grandpa. We'd often add their surname so everyone was clear on which grandmother or grandfather we were referencing. When my niece was born she called my mom Mema and my Dad Poppie, so when my daughters were born this is how they were introduced. 

My sister had a son some sixteen years after my youngest was born and he likes to call my mom Mimi. I think she prefers this name, but my girls have a lot to say about it-ha! He's the only grandson though, so I think it's okay. 

My girls called hubs parents Grandma and Grandpa so there was never any confusion over which side of the family we were discussing. One of my grandmothers lived to spend many years knowing my girls, her great granddaughters, and she went from being called Grandma to the new name GiGi, for great-grandma. 

Also, she was so special and I miss her. 

When my turn rolled around my daughter asked both sets of grandparents what they would like to be called and we all weighed in. Her mother-in-law chose a nickname she used to call a favorite aunt who was very dear to her and her father-in-law wanted to be called by his first name. They put the kibosh on that though, so he added Papa in front of his first name and that's what he's called. 

Hubs wanted to go by the same name as his own grandpa so he's Pawpaw. I'm here to tell you it sounds super precious when spoken aloud by little boys. 

So what about me? When we lived in the UK the girl who cut our hair would come to our house, and we became friends. She was about the age my daughters are now and we looked forward to her visits. Quite often she would talk about her grandparents, specifically her Nan. It was so completely endearing that I decided way back then I would someday be Nana. 

And now I am. 

For a while it was NeNe which was also the mancub's word for banana. Since nothing gets by him I imagine his brain was working hard trying to piece together how the two were connected, but he’s got it now. 

There is nothing quite so sweet as hearing your name on the lips of tiny humans who you love more than words can say. 

Are you a grandparent? What are you called by the ones you love? What did you call your own grands?

Thursday, April 15, 2021

A Love Like No Other

Continuing with the April A-Z Blog Challenge and the letter of the day-

 M is for Marvelous Magical Momma

Hey little's Nana...and I want to talk about something sweet with you on this sunny Thursday morning. 

Your momma is something special. I mean all mommas are special but yours is completely extra. And do you know what? She has been since the day she was born. 

She has always had a gentle quiet spirit. 

She is funny, creative, musical.

She is beautiful and that shines from within. 

She is small but mighty. Even though you'll likely tower over her in the not too distant future, don't  ever underestimate her might. 

She is tender-hearted and compassionate. Even when she was a little girl she always had a sense about people and how they were feeling, what they need, how to respond. She has it still. 

She is smart and she loves words. You might have to ask your Dr. Dad to help you with math, but if it's words you need to know-find-understand then she's your girl. 

She has a spirit of adventure. Which seems kind of funny to us now because when she was a tiny tot she was a bit fraidy scared of change or anything new and unfamiliar. 

She got over it though and discovered there's a great big world out there waiting to be explored. She loves new languages, new peoples, new customs, and new places and she will make you love them too. 

She is patient. I absolutely marvel at the way she responds to your endless questions, your cries for attention, your needs both physical and emotional. 

Jesus loves her this she knows. And she is teaching you to know Him too. 

She is slow to anger and likes to give others the benefit of the doubt. She brings light and sunshine to a messy, tangled-up world. 

She loves your Daddy. 

And she sure loves you. 
That love will be with you solid and unfailing for always.

A gift even Nana can't put  into words. 

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

A Hodgepodge Legacy

Welcome to another edition of the weekly Hodgepodge. For anyone visiting from the A-Z Blog Challenge today, I host a weekly random Q and A here every Wednesday. Feel free to play along, but please add Hodgepodge links only to this hop. Thanks! Scroll down to question six for my letter L entry. 

If you're here to Hodgepodge and you've answered today's questions, add your link at the bottom of my post. Then leave a comment for the blogger before you because that's what good neighbors do. Here we go-

From this Side of the Pond   

1. What is something you currently find 'taxing'? 

I'd like to never mention this word on my blog again but! in a word Corona and all it's many tentacles...the way we don't have any idea what's true, what's exaggerated, what's real, and what's imagined. The mask shaming, vaccine shaming. All of it. Taxing is a good word. 

2. I've seen this question asked in various forms on several social media can only keep three-

coffee, jewelry, tacos, wine, books, dogs, chocolate, Netflix, make-up, leggings, cheese, cats

Which three do you keep and how easy or hard was it for you to decide? 

Hmmm...harder than it first appeared. The first is easy, because of all the things listed I for sure would miss my morning coffee the most. I'm allergic to cats so that one lands at the bottom of the list. In fact, besides cats I think the bottom half of my list would include jewelry, wine, Netflix, make-up, and leggings, not necessarily in that order. 

Dogs are living things while most of these other items are not, so dogs would have to make my list. And since I can't imagine a world without books I guess my top three are coffee, books and dogs. 

But I will really really miss my cheese and chocolate. 

3. Tell us something you know or have learned about forgiveness? 

It's hard to keep forgiving someone whose behavior doesn't really change. When I stop and think about it more deeply I realize God could say the same thing about me. But He doesn't. I'm forgiven and need to extend forgiveness to others. It's not always easy, but it is truly freeing. I love the Matthew West song called Forgiveness (linked here). The lyrics are wonderful and so true. 

4. What's something you'd recommend that is often overlooked and under appreciated?

The physical, mental, and emotional benefits of a walk in the woods, a nap, and a long hot soak in the tub. 

5. Give us a favorite word that starts with letter K and tell us why this is the one you chose. 

I don't know if it's a favorite but I seem to use the expression 'kit and caboodle' fairly often. Don't ask me why. I guess it's just the way my brain works, and it's often the right sort of phrase for the point I'm trying to make. Plus it's fun to say.

6. Insert your own random thought here-

Day 12 in the A-Z Blog Challenge...

L is for legacy

Do you ever think about what sort of legacy you're leaving for those who come after you? Are you intentional in living up to what you want that legacy to be? How we're remembered will mostly be based on how we lived. 

Not many people have the financial means to name a building or build a school or the like, but we all have people we hope our lives impact and perhaps continue to impact after we're gone. 

How do I want my children and grandchildren to remember me?

Not going to complicate it...

She loved well. 

She used her words for good.

She pointed to Jesus. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Rabbit Ears

This week's Hodgepodge questions linked here

In thinking about my theme for this year's A-Z Blog Challenge I decided it would be fun to describe some of what life looked like in my childhood, how those same things looked in my children's growing up years, and to see how that compares with life today in my grandchildren's childhood. 

I'm going to start with television because that's the first thing that came to mind. And since the line between TVs and computers has gone completely blurry I'll likely touch on that as well. 

K is for When I Was A Kid

When I was a child the television programs we enjoyed aired once a week or, in the case of holiday specials, once a year. You snooze you lose, something like that. 

My sister and I couldn't wait to get up on Saturday mornings and watch our favorite cartoons...Bugs, Foghorn Leghorn, The Road Runner, Johnny Quest. When the holidays rolled in we would count the days until Rudolph, The Grinch, and Frosty were mentioned in the TV guide. 

fyi-the TV guide was not something you scrolled through on your television screen because in 1960-something there was no scrolling. The TV guide was an actual magazine you held in your hand and looked through to find what programs were airing when. If you didn't subscribe to the TV guide you could also find program listings in the local paper. 

Our family did eventually have a color television set, but our first TV was black and white, and we owned just one. Uno. Singular. For the whole entire house. Where six people of varying ages and interests lived. In fact most families we knew owned just one and that was fine. We made it work. 

Once upon a time TV viewing was a family activity, and a favorite was everyone piling on the couch to watch The Wonderful World of Disney together on Sunday evenings. We got three basic channels, plus PBS. Later we added what was then called UHF which gave us I think two additional channels, and that was thrilling. For real. 

In order to change the channels you had to get up, walk over to the tv, and physically turn a knob. Sometimes we would argue over who was going to get up and change the channel. For the record if kids and parents were watching together it was never the parents-ha! 

The televisions of my childhood had antennas, or rabbit ears as they were known. When you changed the channel you would almost alway have to jiggle the antenna while someone watching from the couch would shout instructions...'a little more, no wait! back to the left!, hold it right there!, no wait!, okay that's good"

Everyday life before technology was king. 

I remember when my parents put in central air one of the 'perks' was the company they bought from gave a small TV as a thank you for your business. I mostly remember that little tiny TV living in my brother's bedroom, but I guess the only boy in a houseful of sisters needed his own TV. He would set it on a chair beside his bed to watch, and sometimes my sisters and I would all go into his tiny room and sit around that tiny TV. Good times! 

The local news aired once a day, around suppertime, followed by the national news. We read newspapers for more in-depth coverage of the day's happenings and everyone was less cranky-ha! There were some afternoon talk shows but they were mostly in the entertainment lane as opposed to politics and social commentary. 

No reality programming unless it was in the form of nature, no real housewives, Kardashians, or people spilling family secrets for all the world to see. There were daytime soaps which I suppose were the precursor to the real-life soaps we see today. Along came Phil and Oprah and later Jerry and everybody in everybody's business which seemed relatively harmless initially, but it's like we're on steroids now.  

As a teenager I babysat pretty regularly and late night weekends I would watch Don Kirschner's Rock Concert or Soul Train. Because those were the choices. For most of my childhood stations signed off the air at midnight. Yup. No TV. People slept or didn't sleep but they didn't watch TV at 3 a.m. or scroll their phone screens because phones were like televisions. One or two per family and plugged in to the wall.  In 1970-something screens were for windows, the glass kind not the computer kind. 

Language is complicated. 

In the early days of married life hubs and I had a console TV. These were a huge thing in the 1980's. Literally huge. As in a great big piece of furniture you decorated around. Still plugged in to the wall, but a bigger picture and better clarity than what we'd grown up with. Nothing like we have today but a big deal to poor newlyweds.  

We never put televisions in our children's bedrooms, but we did have more than one TV in the house. My kids grew up in the age of VHS tapes, Blockbuster rentals on Friday nights, and the excitement of purchasing a device that could rewind those videos faster than your VHS player because if you returned a VHS tape un-rewound you were fined. 

When we moved to the UK we owned one DVD. We brought our VHS player with us because we had no idea and also because in late 2003 technology hadn't sped up to supersonic speed. But speed up it did and now we watch television on devices we hold in our hands. 

Parents walk a daily tightrope in trying to limit the limitless, We know more, which is both good and awful, but we can't put the genie back in the bottle and most days don't really want to.  

We bought our first home computer when our girls were in elementary school. We didn't know what we had and they mostly painted and played games we purchased from actual stores. Oregon Trail and Math Blaster were two favorites. We might have owned four games? Life did not revolve around the computer and we had just one for the family, in a shared space so no secrets. They had computer lab in school each week and became adept at typing. 

I think it was a year or so after we arrived in England that my girls set up My Space accounts. They spent a lot of time choosing the music that would play when someone logged on and also ranking friends. Have mercy. When Facebook rolled in you needed a college email address to have an account, and then people found ways around that, and before you knew it the world discovered twelve year old children chatting with 40-year old men who were up to no good. Voila! Pandora's Box was open for all the world to see. 

The good news is that while the box is full of garbage it's also full of treasure. In the age of grandparenting I am so very thankful for how far we've come. My grands are many thousands of miles away, yet most evenings we talk and they show me things and I watch them play and read all from the comfort of my kitchen on the other side of the world. Facetime connects us and I appreciate that more than I can say. 

As I watch my daughter be a mother to her sons I see a thoughtful parent. One who is intentional in what she allows into her home via television, ipads, or the phone screen. I think her generation sees technology from a helpful vantage point. They appreciate the connection and support that can be found there, but they've also seen what too much has wrought, and they're trying to strike a balance. 

I feel certain one day I'll be chatting with my grandsons via a hologram. Or maybe some whiz kid will finally figure out how to 'beam me up Scotty'. 

Until then I write about my life here, send greeting cards and letters the old-fashioned way, and break into a smile every single time their little boy faces fill my screen. 

Hodgpodge Questions-Volume 415

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. 

For anyone dropping in from the A-Z Blog Challenge today,  I host a weekly random Q and A here every Wednesday. Feel free to play along, but Hodgepodge links only please and thanks! My post for letter K is also up today. 


1. What is something you currently find 'taxing'? 

2. I've seen this question asked in various forms on several social media can only keep three-

coffee, jewelry, tacos, wine, books, dogs, chocolate, Netflix, make-up, leggings, cheese, cats

Which three do you keep and how easy or hard was it for you to decide? 

3. Tell us something you know or have learned about forgiveness? 

4. What's something you'd recommend that is often overlooked and under appreciated? 

5. Give us a favorite word that starts with letter K and tell us why this is the one you chose. 

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Monday, April 12, 2021

If I Only Had A Brain

New week, new batch of letters...blogging my way through the alphabet this month with the April A-Z Blog Challenge

 J is for Just Think

Sometimes when my kids would leave the house to go out with friends, to a party, to university, etc., I would shout behind them, 'Make good choices.' And they would laugh and roll their eyes, but still my words would ring in their ears which was kind of the point.

When my girls were college students home on break they thought it was funny to shout the words back to hubs and I as we headed out for an evening. It was funny. It also told me my words stuck and that's a good thing, a parenting win in my book.

Growing up my mom sometimes told me to 'use good judgement' when she felt I needed a gentle nudge, because that's what we moms do. We warn. Or maybe remind is a better word. We remind you of who you are and whose you are and sometimes children need reminding.

Sometimes adults do too. 

There have always been a hundred and ten ways for kids to get off track, but in 2021 with the internet at their fingertips and a phone in their hand, there are probably more like a million and ten. 

Use good judgement. 

While I might have cautioned my children about the words they would speak, parents today also need to caution their kids about the words they post. About the online sites they visit, the games they play there, and the hours they spend 'not interacting' with people face to face and it's exhausting. For everyone. 

Use good judgement. 

My grandsons are little but I write these posts thinking they'll read them some day. And I hope by the time they're old enough to read my blog the pendulum of this world will have swung back the other way a little bit. 

It often does you know. We are a nation of extremes and when we reach the pinnacle of one we find ourselves longing for what we left behind.  

More real life, less on-line life.

More restraint, less cancel culture based on a single photograph, tweet, or edited video clip. 

More patience, less impulsive regrettable decisions made for the sake of a like or a follow.

More courage of conviction, less hopping on bandwagons.

More kind words spoken, less cruel words shouted in ALL CAPS 

More good judgement, less chaos. 

 'If any of you lacks wisdom let him ask of God, who gives generously to all without reproach 
and it will be given him.' James 1:5