Sporty Hodgepodge

I don’t know what the weather is like where you are, but here, it’s like mother nature has menopause.  Snow on Friday, freeing rain and sleet on Sunday night/Monday morning, and 73 degrees today before a high of 39 and snow on Friday.  Between the weather and my allergy shots today, I am a walking snot factory.  (I just know you wanted to know that.) I think my nose could run for Congress at this point.  I swear, after dinner tonight, it hit me like a ton of bricks.  Unfortunately, I was at the movies.  Talk about awkward for those around me.  I felt horrible.  Anyway, it’s Wednesday eve!  Which means if I can stop sneezing long enough (I’ve sneezed seven times since I started typing this post) I get to answer the Hodgepodge questions for the week.
1.  In the USA this coming Sunday millions will be watching as the Baltimore Ravens take on the San Francisco 49’s in the Superbowl.  What was the last event you attended that could be described as super?
I think my perception of super and the perception someone else might have of super can be two different things.  I was at the Newsboys concert in April 2012 when they played at John Paul Jones Arena, I thought that was pretty super.  I spent years at Redskins games, Virginia Tech games, and some of them were super. 
2.  Share something you’re a fan of these days?
I don’t know if it’s “these days” or “still obsessed”.  Show me the Olympic rings, and I am a sucker.  I just finished (last month) watching all the coverage I had Tivo’d from the London Olympics.  And there is less than a year and two weeks until the winter games open in Sochi. . . .
3. How do you feel about wings?  In case anyone is confused, I’m talking the edible appetizer kind.  What’s your preferred seasoning on a wing-hot, mild, teryiaki, sweet and sour, other?  Do you make your own or is there a favorite place you like to go for wings?
Buffalo Wild Wings boneless chicken wings in Thai or Caribbean Jerk.  Food of the gods, and a requirement for every Hokie season opener game.
4.  As long as we’re talking sports today…have you followed the Lance Armstrong story?  Did you watch his interview with Oprah and if so what was your reaction to his confession and subsequent remarks?
I taped the interview, made it through about six minutes before I had to turn it off.  I don’t know how much I believed in his innocence but this humble piety that he is trying to pull off isn’t working for me. 
5.  What’s a question you hate to be asked?
Why aren’t you married?  When are you going to get married?  Why don’t you have another job?  Why haven’t you lost weight?  Don’t you want to be married?  Why aren’t you dating ___?  Take your pick . . . .
6. The coaches in this Sunday’s big game happen to be real life brothers.  Jim Harbaugh coaches the 49er’s and his older brother John Harbaugh coaches the Baltimore Ravens.  Were you and your sibling(s) competitive?  In what way? Are you still?  If you’re an only child how did you handle competition growing up?
Not so much.  We are only two and a half years apart in age, but we were four grades apart in school so there was very little rivalry.  Hatred, maybe.  Desire for control of the remote, sure.  But rivalry?  Not so much that I am aware of anyway. 
7.  What’s your favorite game involving a ball and when did you last play?
I love to watch tennis.  I used to play a lot as a child, but had major knee problems starting in the tenth grade so never got back into it after that.  I played volleyball through college on intramural teams, but also spent four weeks in bed with double immobilizers and couldn’t walk.  I prefer to swim!
8.  Insert your own random thought here.
Only thirteen sneezes to complete.  Seriously, what is up with this?????

Do you remember when . . . .

This week’s Tuesday’s Topics is to list six different memories.  Which could be anything.  Times in school that were once in a lifetime opportunities.  Times in life that were horrid moments.  When your heart soared.  When your heart was broken.  When you fell in love.  When you got the job.  When you lost the job.  When  you flew on an airplane for the first time.  When you lost someone you loved.  So many opportunities for memories, how do you just pick six?

The Austin Family Diary

  1. Father’s Day 1983:  Two weeks before this day, just after the first of June, my father took my brother and I out for the night.  We were thrilled.  It was only the third time in four years that we had done something with our father.  This night, however, on the way to the movies, we were told that he never should have been a father and he would be moving out.  After the movies, he took us to play miniature golf and expected us to have fun.  Instead, all we could focus on is that we were losing our father.  He moved out on Father’s day.
  2. Christmas 2001:  When my brother was in the army, my cousin N and I saved up and spent a week in California between San Francisco, Carmel Valley, and Big Sur.  I am a scrapbooker.  This trip was in the early days, when I was just starting.  So therefore I saved everything on the trip–ticket stubs, matchbooks, coasters, Alcatraz brochures, etc.  All to go with the photos in my scrapbook when I got back.  It was a few months before I started to work on the book, but I was having fun putting it together.  My roommate at the time (now married to N’s sister) was trying to clean up for a change.  Two days later when I went back to the living room to work on the book, I couldn’t find my souvenirs anywhere.  Come to find out my roommate saw a bag full of stuff and thought it was trash, so he dumped it for pickup the day before.  Everything was gone.  I was heartbroken.  Two months later was Christmas.  My brother gave me this small box, and inside of it was a trolley ticket stub, an Alcatraz ticket stub.  Fliers from Ripley’s.  Coasters from the Irish pub we loved.  A napkin from Ghirardelli square.  A baggage claim stub.  A barf bag from his plane trip home.  That boy had taken the veterans day holiday in November and gone up from Monterey to relive our vacation in a day or less.  He had pulled every souvenir that he could possibly obtain and gift wrapped it for me that year.  Love that boy.  And yes, I may have cried.
  3. April 16, 2007:  It was a Monday.  And more so than on Tuesday, September 11, 2001 (which was the day after I returned from that San Franciso trip mentioned above) it is a day that scarred me.  I wrote a little bit about it in this Hodgepodge (see #3) but it still scarred me.  My birthday was Sunday, and I went to work on Monday in high spirits.  And within a few short minutes my world had changed.  I still have a hard time dealing with it.  I haven’t been back to the campus since that day.  I don’t want to go alone, but I don’t want it to be a trivial visit either.
  4. August 1985:  What is now known as RIC was once known as Byrd Airport.  We used to go there and watch planes take off when we were kids.  What can I say, it was free entertainment.  We’d sit at the window by the cafe and just enjoy.  In August, I was teaching Bible school, and mom was irritating the tar out of me asking about my contact lenses.  Was I wearing them?  Did I have the case?  Did I have my glasses?  Was I sure?  And over and over again.  Good grief.  That Friday we drove to the airport after VBS was over and my brother and I got out of the car and headed towards the terminal.  We heard our mother calling us back, and when we turned around we saw her pulling luggage out of the trunk.  “I thought we should look like tourists this time” she said.  We looked at her like she was bonkers.  But whatever, right?  So we turned around, got the luggage, and then realized that it was full, not empty.  Once we started forward we then saw my father walking out of the terminal.  Then we got really confused.  What on earth was he doing in Richmond?  Well come to find out, dad had been doing a lot of business in Clearwater, Florida.  This time he took us–all of us–with him.  Mom too.  We spent a week in Clearwater, two days at Disney, and it was the first family vacation with all four of us.  Ironic that it was after the four of were any longer a family, but hey.  It was something.
  5. January 28, 1986:  I was in eighth grade.  Andy Long was sent to the Principal’s office because he was acting up in photography class. When he came back, he said that the space shuttle Challenger had blown up.  He was sent back to the Principal’s office for making up stories.  Little did the teacher know . . . .
  6. July 24, 2008:  I have had many jobs in my life.  I have left many, I have gone on, etc.  This is the first time that I was taken by surprise.  I had just finished a huge 4 day festival with 500 people in town for work, and two days later they laid off 55% of the corporate office.  I was the first one to go.  I found another job in a few months and was laid off again on Christmas Eve.  It was to be another year and a half before I found a regular job again.

Career Choices of the Past

I never had the desire to be a fireman, or to be a ballerina, or to be a member of the Peace Corps.  I didn’t always have the luxury of imagining future dreams as I had to always be practical and deal with the reality of day to day.  So this is an interesting list to me.  I don’t know so much if these were the ten things that were career choices from when I was a child or from when I was about 17 and trying to figure out what I wanted to be in life.  Or when I was 30 for that matter–so in that light, here are 10 things that I have considered as a dream profession at one point or another.


  1. Marine Biologist.  This one actually had some traction.  It influenced the colleges I applied for and the courses I took for a few years.  But let’s face it–as much as I loved Biology, it didn’t love me back.  And Organic Chemistry?  Well, we were mortal enemies.
  2. Teacher.  For about six and a half minutes.  I would love to teach English.  I truly would.  But I would want to teach it to high school or early college students.  The only problem is that I want to teach it to kids who wanted to be there, not indifferent ones that did not.  So although I have a degree in English, American History, and Child Development–I am not a teacher.
  3. A medical/hospital administrator.  I thought I would work for a year or two after college and then go back to school for nursing administration.  Reality set in and prevented this one.
  4. A wife and mom.  I always thought I’d have five or six kids by the time I was 30.  So far I’m ten years late and five or six kids behind.  Not to mention single.
  5. A book editor.  As much as I love to read, this one would be a no brainer.  I would love to read books for a living.  Good books.  Bad books.  Any books. And with a red pencil to mark grammatical mistakes.
  6. Costumer.  I love the theater.  Have worked in the theater.  Have done costume work.  Even worked as a union member and got to work backstage as tours came through town.  Was even offered a non-union tour of Oliver! about three weeks before I finished college, and I turned it down because I knew that if I didn’t finish school I never would.  Still it is an awesome life, and a great deal of fun.
  7. Corporate trainer.  I actually did this for a while, and then the recession hit.  What’s the first thing trimmed from the budget? Training costs.
  8. Wedding and event coordinator.  I did this for a time too.  Thoroughly loved it.  Didn’t want to be 50 and cleaning tables after drunk bridesmaids and hammered guests.  Still, great fun, and especially weddings.  So much fun to be able to bring every wish, however unrealistic they may be, to fruition.
  9. Artisan.  I don’t care how, but it still would be great to be paid to be artistic for a living.
  10. Board game tester.  This has to be the most awesome job in the world.  To find new games and test them for various companies and just PLAY for a living!

Observing the social niceities

Good morning!  It’s Sunday, which means it’s time for the

Sunday Social

Church this morning and the kids after, then a nice chat in the car before coming home to frantically clean before dinner.  But you know I hate that, so I’m doing Sunday Social instead!

This Weeks Questions:

What is your ideal way to relax: On the couch, dog at my feet, knitting while watching tv

Where is your favorite place to be: Lately?  At home.  I know that’s trite, but it’s true.  There are other times where I love to be on the flying field, eyes to the sky, with lots of nylon and string.  At the beach, lying in the warm sand with anchors flying pretties in the sky.  Stroking through the chlorinated water at the pool.  On a plane off to a far away adventure and new experience.  But at the end of the day, I want to be at home.

Who do you consider your biggest role model: I really need to find one, I guess.  There are women in the church–both older and younger than I–that I admire and respect.  There are people in my life that I think are virtuous and honorable and I hope that I can be considered the same by someone.  But I don’t know that I have ever really considered anyone as a role model of what I want to be, maybe more of what I want to avoid?

What does your life look like in 3 years? Probably a lot like it looks now.  Still continuing education through work, job going well, starting to climb out of debt.  With any luck I’ll have had more than one dinner date with someone who I consider relationship worthy and who hopefully thinks of me the same.

If you could go back and change one decision what would it be? Having the confidence and knowledge to say no where I said yes out of fear

What is your biggest accomplishment in life thus far? Making it day by day, and not giving up no matter what the circumstances or the temptation to do otherwise would be.

Hodgepodge #110

I couldn’t think of a more interesting title.  I know.  Sad.  Blame it on the subzero temperatures outside (and the 40 degrees inside my house when I got home).  This week, our lovely hostess at is feeling a bit under the weather–and is on complete vocal rest.  Bless her heart.  I couldn’t survive.  Hang in there, and feel better soon!

  1. The popular saying, ‘All is fair in love and war’ is originally credited to English writer John Lyly.  Is he right?
    I’m thinking no.  There is too much room for hurt and mistakes.  However, I am a big believer in “All’s fair on game night”.  I am fiercely competitive–checkers, Fluxx, Monopoly, Ticket to Ride, you name it. 
  2. Are you a cereal eater?  What’s your favorite kind?
    Every morning.  Every single morning.  I make my own, actually.  Oatmeal, craisins (or other dried fruit), coconut, almonds, honey, and a few other things.  I belong to BJ’s and my mother belongs to Costco–she has to get the oatmeal for me because BJ’s only carries the quick-cook kind, and I don’t like them.  She has not been in a while, so I had to cave and buy Golden Grahams the other day.  I forgot how enjoyable they can be!
  3. A five year old in Pennsylvania was recently given a ten day school suspension for talking with a friend about shooting one another with a Hello Kitty Bubble gun (the gun blows bubbles).  She did not have the gun with her at school.  A psychological evaluation was also ordered and the incident was recorded on her permanent record.  The suspension was later reduced to two days and her parents are suing to have the incident removed from her file. Your thoughts?  (If you missed the story click here for details).
    Insane.  I grew up with cap guns and water pistols.  We played cops and robbers at recess.  I use a gun-style nozzle for my water hose in the backyard.  I realize there is a hyper-sensitivity after the occurrence in Connecticut.  And there should be.  But bubbles?  Look, my family hunts.  I grew up around guns.  I don’t care for them, but they are a common presence in my life.  When I was in second grade Mitchell Anthony took his uncle’s pistol to school for show and tell.  After the infamous words of “it’s not loaded” he shot a chunk out of the linoleum floor six centimeters from my left foot.  I went to Virginia Tech.  My freshman year I lived in room 4054 of West Ambler-Johnston hall, along with 893 other residents.  I loved my experience at school.  Inspired the name of the blog, even.  And then six years ago, the day after my birthday, on April 16, 2007, in room 4054 of West Ambler-Johnston Hall Seung-Hui Cho began what was the worst school shooting in history.  I was really messed up for awhile after that.  Couldn’t watch the news, couldn’t talk about it, would only watch the Food Network while I was at home.  But even after all that happened I never felt that guns should be outlawed and destroyed.  I never felt that others couldn’t own them.  I never felt that Hello Kitty’s bubble maker was something that would cause a five year old kindergartener to get a ten day suspension from school.
  4. Whatever happened to _____________________?
    Michael Schoeffling.  Let’s face it.  Hank Steuver had it right when he said that Jake Ryan has ruined an entire generation of men for women.  Read his article here.  If you’re between the ages of 35-45 you know this is true.  I cannot tell you how many times I have forwarded this article to women my age.
  5. January 23rd is National Handwriting Day, billed as a day to reacquaint yourself with a pen and pencil.  Do you like your handwriting? Do you prefer to print or write in cursive?  This date was chosen because it’s the birth date of John Hancock. What’s the last thing you signed your name to?
    Most days I like my handwriting.  I tend to like it more early in the morning and less by the end of the day after fatigue sets in.  I prefer to write in a cursive/print hybrid, mostly cursive letters.  I prefer ink, any color but black (which is the ONLY color I am allowed to use at work.  Blech.)  On the occasion I use pencils I must have them freshly sharpened and with an eraser.  I signed my name on some paperwork I submitted at work today.  I sign my name several times a day!
  6. Speaking of John Hancock…ever been to Philadelphia?  Do you have any desire to visit the city of Brotherly Love?
    I have.  I didn’t get a chance to play tacky tourist while I was there, though, we were visiting friends and really didn’t leave the house much.  I would love to go back and do the touristy thing!
  7. Share something funny you’ve heard a child say.
    One of my closest friends is from upstate New York and has two girls in elementary school.  She and her husband have tried to curtail their salty language, but are not always successful.  They have instituted a swear jar, and must put change in it whenever they are guilty of a transgression.  Their youngest daughter, now in first grade, found a dime on the floor in the kitchen while mom was doing laundry.  She picked up the dime, said, “mom look! I found a dime!”.  Then she got really serious and looked at the dime.  Then she looked at the jar.  Then she looked at the dime.  Then she said, “SHIT!” in as forceful a manner as she could, walked over to the swear jar, put the dime in, and walked away with a big grin on her face.
  8. Insert your own random thought here.
    I have many random thoughts today.  1)  It is FREEZING in my house.  I have the heat on, but I have a 60 year old house.  It runs on electric baseboard heat.  And when it is 20 degrees outside like it is right now the baseboard heaters don’t work so well.  2) I have a puppy.  Well, a two year old puppy.  Well, a 26 month old pit bull/lab mix.  I adore him.  He loves to dig holes in the yard and eat my shoes.  That I don’t like so much.  On Sunday morning I woke up and heard him eating his bone.  Only it wasn’t his bone.  It was my brand new pair of glasses.  I had them on the bathroom counter.  Little bugger jumped up, got them, and pulverized the right lens.  And though I didn’t pay for them (neighbor was a rep for the frame company, uncle is an optometrist so I only paid for the lenses) it still irks me that he CHEWED MY GLASSES.  Replacements have been ordered, but still!  First new pair in eight years and he ATE THEM!  3) I really have to do laundry.  I am coming up with creative things to wear to work because I haven’t had the desire to wash clothes.  I must change this.  Really.  Or else I’m going to have to wear a sports bra and a pair of pajama pants to work in the morning!

A first for us here at home

Usually I have the heat in my house set on 55.

Yes, you read that correctly, 55.

An old house, electric baseboard heat.  I usually just have to turn on the living room heater so that it’s on.  Lowest possible setting.  55.  And then I wear shorts for the rest of the day because it is quite hot.

Not tonight.

Tonight, it is 20 degrees outside.  I think it is a balmy 60 inside my house.  And my teeth are chattering.  You know how once one part of you gets cold it’s impossible to get warm?  For some people it’s hands.  For others, it’s feet.  For me?  It’s the small of my back.  I will have chill bumps all over my self.  And right now, that’s about the whole of it.  I even turned on the bedroom baseboard heater.  It’s the first time all year.  Granted, the year is only 22 days old, but still.  Crazy.  I don’t think I used it all last winter, and probably not the winter before either.

Now, I have the heat in the living room set at 75.  And I just can’t get warm!

Best Game Night Ever!

I tried to write a pithy intro paragraph, but at this point, who needs to?  It’s Tuesday, so that means it’s Tuesday Topics.  Seven people you’d like to meet.  I first inferred from this it’s seven famous people you’d like to meet.  Otherwise, the list would be pretty short.  But I can think of a few people who are not on the paparazzo daily charting list, so they’re on here too.  (Disclaimer: All photos are screen caps from

The Austin Family Diary

    1. Wil Wheaton.  I’m obsessed with Tabletop and have discovered new games, plus he just seems like he’d be a hoot.  Plus he appears to have an awesome relationship with his equally cool appearing wife so she can come too.
      Screen Shot 2013-01-20 at 2.56.33 PM
    2. If Wil comes, Nathan Fillion has to too.  After all, they ran on the same ticket.
      Screen Shot 2013-01-20 at 2.57.06 PM
    3. Maureen O’Hara.  She just seems fascinating.  I loved her autobiography, Tis Herself.
      Tis Herself
    4. When my grandma moved into an assisted living facility over a year ago, she moved from a house she had lived in for thirty years to a 200 square foot room.  Downsizing is an understatement.  One of the quirks that always cracked me up was she would shop at yard sales and find great photo frames, and hang them on the wall.  Complete with original photos or photos of other people’s families.  So we would make up stories about them.  Imagine my surprise when it turns out some of them were actual relatives.  I was close with my great-grandma.  She died when she was 100 1/2 and I was 13.  I never knew her husband, he died when my grandma was 2.  The people in these photos are her and her husband, her mother, and her mother’s parents (My great-grandma’s great-grandma!).  Considering my granny was born in 1886, and the great great great’s were tintypes with surprisingly little damage, aren’t these photos cool?  They might not be the best at the party games, but they’d be great at the “in my day . . . ” stories!
      Granny and husband

      Granny and husband

      Granny's mom

      Granny’s mom

      Granny's Great Grandma

      Granny’s Great Grandma

      Granny's Great grandpa

      Granny’s Great grandpa

    5. Lauren Graham.  She is a Virginia girl, after all, and in interviews she appears to be someone that I’d have an absolute blast with.
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    6. Anjelah Johnson.  Aside from the fact that her husband is Manwell Reyes, who is in Group 1 Crew which is an AMAZING band, she is so hysterically funny.  You might know her from MadTV, you might know her as Bon Qui Qui or the girl who works in your nail salon.  Regardless, anyone who is that funny has to be a lot of fun to hang around.
    7. Joss Whedon.  Because who doesn’t.
      Screen Shot 2013-01-20 at 2.57.50 PM