Better Late Than Never

It’s almost midnight on Wednesday, so I have a few minutes before I’m overdue.  Here’s this week’s answers:

1. Have you learned more from success or failure?
Failure.  Because it motivates me to feel the success on the next attempt.

2. What did you call your grandparents when you were growing up? If you have children, what do they call your parents?  If you have grandchildren, what do they call you?
Nana and Papa and Grandma and Pepa.  Grandma still to this day tells the story of how I broke her heart the day I got out of the car and carefully pronounced Grandma instead of “Meemaw”, her preferred name.  My parents are known as Sassy and Tito.  Mom always wanted to be Coco, but when my eldest niece was born they had a cat named Coco.  So somehow Sassy became her name.  My brother is determined to call her Coco though.  And my dad and his wife are waiting for the baby to get old enough to decide.

3. You’re invited to a luau.  In keeping with that theme, what dish do you bring to share?
Does pineapple upside down cake sound trite?  I’d love to take taro boba, but it’s not luau food.

4. Besides Jesus, what one person’s life story do you think everyone should know?
You know, there could be any of a few.  I liked the answer of Hitler, so we remember what hate can do.  But I also think people like Medgar Evers, or MLK Jr., or the Little Rock Nine for what they stood for and what they accomplished.  Ryan White, as an example of how you can turn your experience around.  Mother Teresa.  Ghandi.  So many.

5. “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” Agree or disagree?
Some days.  Some days it’s the small stuff that gets ya’.

6. June is National Rivers Month…when were you last on a river?  What’s the prettiest river you’ve ever seen?  What’s a river you’d like to see?
I drove over the river today.  Twice in fact.  But I can’t remember the last time I played in one.  But by far, my favorite one is the Salzach River, running through the middle of Salzburg.

On a more serious note, please remember the people in Dohna, Germany.  The Elba River has overflowed again.  When I was there two years ago, there was a marker on the wall from a flood a few years ago, and another one from 1954 that was about 12 feet high.  This has surpassed the 1954 mark, and has shut down businesses, including that of a friends, and ruined homes.  It’s a horrible situation over there right now.

7. Speaking of rivers-paddling, swimming, fishing, or bird watching safely from the shore?  Which activity would you choose?  Yes-you have to choose.
Swimming.  No contest.  Would enjoy paddling or fishing, but swimming wins.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
I’m still ruminating on the wedding I attended this past weekend.  It was such a lovely affair.  Simple, and God focused.  Beautiful.

Just Taking a Moment

and answering this week’s Hodgepodge questions while I wait for my dinner to finish cooking.  Trying a new recipe tonight, I needed to use up a lot of cilantro before I lost it in the heat and some chicken I had in the freezer.  We’ll see how it tastes . . . .

1. What question do you often ask yourself?
What am I doing?  I ask myself all this time.  What am I doing?  WHAT am I DOing?  Sarcastically, metaphorically, hypothetically, and literally.  All forms of delivery apply to this question.

2. Do you grow roses? What’s your favorite color of rose?  Ever been given a dozen roses?  Where was the prettiest rose or rose garden you remember seeing?
No, I do not.  I’d like to, but I have always heard that roses are notoriously picky to grow.  So I have an aloe plant.  I bought some fuschia’s for my front and back planters this year.  If I can manage to make those survive then I might move on to something more impressive.  Like a hosta.  Favorite color?  Probably the peach ones, though the yellow or stripey ones are good too.  Been given a dozen a few times, but not in a LOOOOOONG time.  I used to work at a botanical garden, though, and loved to walk around and see all the lovelies in bloom–roses, daffodils, lilies, asters, you name it.  Tons of pretties!

3. Do you read the freshness dates on grocery store products?  Will you use eggs past their ‘use by’ date?  Take medication that’s expired? Buy a dented can?
It’s funny.  Yes, I do read the freshness dates.  And I am fanatical about getting the most recent milk, etc.  And milk I will drink long before the date on the carton.  But eggs?  Yes, I use them LONG past their due date.  Never taste any different to me.  And by long past I mean like almost by months.  I am allergic to eggs, so I can buy a half dozen and have them last for forever–depends on how much I’m baking.  I do have this awesome bread pudding recipe that calls for seven eggs plus another three yolks.  And it is the best tasting stuff in the world.  Sorry, random.  Medication–I will take it if it’s expired, but not by much more than a year.  I don’t take meds much, though, so I was cleaning out a cabinet and found a bunch of samples that were given to me when I was in college.  In 1993.  Or from when I had the flu, and it turned into meningitis.  In 1998.  Yeah, had a huge bag full of random stuff.  

4. Should athletes be role models?
Oooooh, good question.  You know, the great ones always have been.  There is always one that came before, and if there wasn’t one that came before there was one that inspired.  Today’s basketball stars looked to Michael Jordan.  Michael Jordan looked to players that played before him like Larry Bird.  And I think that if you’re going to choose a profession that has a public persona job function, then you need to be ready to accept that responsibility.  No one looks at a washing machine repair man and thinks that is the best job on the planet.  They may look at the man, however, and think that “this is a man who works hard, who does the job to the best of his ability, who cares about the legacy and impression he leaves behind, and who is proud of the work he has done at the end of the day.  That’s who I want to be.”  And at the end of the day, isn’t that what being a responsible human being is all about?

5. Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay of Nepal became the first explorers to reach the top of Mt. Everest on this date (May 29) back in 1953. What’s something you hope to achieve in your lifetime?
I am never good at these questions, as I am always so focused on the immediate.  Right now?  It’s to pass my Series 7 exam.  On the first go.  Far reaching goals?  Pay off debt.  Leave a legacy in the children I teach.  Be remembered as a God loving woman who did the best she was able.

6. What would you do if you had twenty acres of land and the money to develop it any way you choose?
A garden over about a half to full acre.  A house of about 2000 square feet, all one level, designed to

7. If I invite you to a party with a 7 PM start time, what time will I actually see you there?
Around 7pm.  Then again it depends on the type of party.  An open house?  Probably around 8.  But for the most part if I invite you to be at the house at 7 then I expect you at 7.  The two girls that I have dinner with every Sunday are so late it drives me nuts.  We used to meet at 6 every week, but they were showing up at 620, 630, 645 . . . and it’s hard to plan dinner when you don’t know when people are showing up, not to mention we were eating around 8 since I had to wait until they got here to finish up cooking.  So we moved it to 5.  Still show up around 515, 530 . . . but at least dinner isn’t so late.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
Finished dinner.  More like a soup than I anticipated.  And if you were to take out the pinto beans and rice and add chickpeas and hominy, it’s pretty dang similar to the chicken tortilla soup I already make, just with more cilantro.  And really, how can you go wrong with more cilantro.  Which reminds me: did you know it might actually be a genetic predisposition to like or not like cilantro? I never did understand people who don’t like it, but at least now they have an excuse!

Trying to remember to be a hodgepodge regular!

I am trying, really I am.  But around the first of April I got out of the habit for my weekly linkups, and for some reason I’m really struggling trying to get them done now.  I like doing them, as it makes me sit still for a few minutes, think a bit, commit pieces of myself to permanence, but I’m finding that I keep dropping the ball.  So have patience, I really do want to keep it up!

1.  It’s National Bike Week…do you own a bicycle?  When did you last ride a bike?
I do own one.  I have a mountain bike in the garage.  No, wait a minute, I don’t.  I gave it to goodwill.  I used to ride all the time as a kid and loved it.  But I bet it’s been about 20 years since I have ridden one outside of the cardio room at the gym. 

2. What’s something you learned in school that wasn’t part of the curriculum?
That people can be horribly mean, including family.  That things aren’t always fair.  That being different isn’t always better.  Horrible lessons to learn, but they’re the ones I remember.

3. What’s a food you’ve never tried, but would like to try?  What’s a food you’ve tried, and will never try again?
I love trying new things.  To try to find something specific that I wanted to try and haven’t yet, I checked out the Food Challenge app on Facebook.  Except there are only about ten things I haven’t tried–things like blood sausage, haggis, and head cheese.  No thank you.  But I love to try new things.  I like ethnic stuff, but it’s hard to order at a restaurant when you’ve never had it before in case you don’t like it.  So instead, I’m saying I want to try a new Indian restaurant.  They have a buffet, so you can try a bunch of stuff and figure out what you want and what you don’t.  As far as foods I’ve tried and never will again, it is really more common stuff instead of stuff like frog legs and alligator.  I love that stuff.  The stuff I can’t stand is stuff like cabbage.  Grapefruit.  Meatloaf.  Liver.  Gizzards. 

4. Have you been more demanding on yourself lately or less?  Why?  Do you think that’s a good trend?
I’d like to say more, but I can’t.  More critical of myself is probably more accurate.

5. Who is your favorite book, movie, or TV show villain?
Malificent from Sleeping Beauty is pretty darn awesome.  Severus Snape (well, really Alan Rickman as Severus Snape) was pretty good too. 

6. How concerned are you about identity theft?
If I had more to steal, I might be concerned.  I try to be diligent, but it’s difficult given the amount of information out there. 

7. I saw this last question on Dawn’s blog and asked if I could share.  Everybody hop over and say hi, but first answer this…would you rather have an ordinary home in an extraordinary place or an extraordinary home in an ordinary place?
An ordinary home.  That you make extraordinary through memories and personalization. 

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
There are so many things I should be doing.  Vacuuming.  Cleaning up the plethora of dog hair I’m sure has accumulated.  Folding laundry.  Instead I’m watching a taped airing of Frequency starring Dennis Quaid and Jim Caviezel and trying to catch up on my Hodgepodge!

Nostalgic thoughts

1. When the children of today grow up, what do you think they’ll say about this period in time? What do you most hope they remember?
That we tried.  That we tried hard to make a difference.  Tried hard to change the world for the better.  Tried to leave the world a place that they would be proud of.  Tried to fix the mistakes of our parents without making too many of our own.

2. National Teacher’s Day is celebrated in the US of A on the first Tuesday in May, this year May 7th…share how a particular teacher positively impacted you.
Oh so many.  Ms. McCreary in elementary school, who was an awesome first grade teacher then moved to third grade so she could have our advanced language arts class again.  Ms. Mann, who was my fourth grade math teacher.  Ms. Frasier, sixth grade English.  Ms. Ragsdale, tenth grade Algebra II and senior year calculus.  Pat Robertson, the nations foremost scholar on Civil War history.  But most of all my friends.  I have so many friends that are teachers, and I’m so proud to know each and every one of them.

3. What’s a dish your mama made, that if set in front of you today would whisk you right back to childhood?
Rice.  My brother and I were talking about this just the other day.  No one else we know has ever eaten it the way we did for breakfast growing up.  It was a special treat–to be had at Christmas or if we were sick.  We didn’t ask for pancakes or eggs, we asked for rice.  Hot, with milk, butter, and sugar.  Almost like a cereal, but warm.  Oh so good.  Still a comfort food to this day.

4. Mother May I was a game we played when I was growing up…no pieces, parts, or plugs required. What games from childhood do you remember loving that were also pieces, parts, and plug-free?
Across the street there was nothing but woods behind the houses.  We would tromp through the woods for hours.  Up to the railroad tracks, to the campground a few miles away, making forts and gymnastics equipment out of the trees that had fallen.  And playing categories.  Awesome days.

5. Besides your own mother, tell us about a woman who influenced you as a child?
When I was a teenager, we had Acteens in my church.  I started in grade 7 and went through until I graduated from high school.  I met so many women through that who were icons in the missions world.  Mary Saunders, who brought the plight of starving children in Ethiopia to the world.  Kitty Walker, whose son was serving in Taiwan.  Julie, who was the first person I knew that was married but kept her maiden name.  Such a cool lady.

6. Mamma Mia! What’s the best play or musical you’ve ever seen?
Ohmygoshtherearesomany.  Cats was great for being the first one I ever saw on Broadway.  Lion King was absolutely stunning and so ground breaking visually.    A Chorus Line was the first one I got to see on my own by choice.  Les Miserables was the first I became obsessed with.  Will Rogers Follies was the first one I got to work on backstage (and onstage too, for that matter!).  Rent was one of the first ones that I felt spoke to my generation.  25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee was just pure fun.  Avenue Q was the first R rated show–with puppets even.  Book of Mormon was R rated as well, but the first seen on Broadway since I was 13.  Musicals speak to me, in various ways.  I’ve seen plenty that weren’t spectacular or weren’t moving, but the music was fantastic.  Jeckyll & Hyde before Lisa became Emma.  Side Show (Virginia girl made good!).  Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  Miss Saigon.  Wicked.  Billy Elliott.  The Secret Garden.  Seen some that were just clunkers, in my opinion–The Wedding Singer.  The Scarlet Pimpernel.  Once on this Island.  South Pacific.  Paint Your Wagon.  Because I live in an area that doesn’t get A-market shows often, and when they do they run to death (Wicked is coming for the third time in four years, making the total running in town eight weeks.  While I’m thrilled that Riverdance isn’t coming for the thirtieth consecutive year, it would be nice to see something new!), I don’t get the opportunity to see many, if any, plays.  But two years ago, some friends and I took a day trip to NYC.  Saw the evening performance of Book of Mormon (where I alternated between laughing hysterically and thinking ‘I’m going to go straight to hell for finding this funny’) we also saw a matinée performance of The Normal Heart.   It had only been running for a week.  And a cast that wouldn’t quit.  (Ellen Barkin, the sole female, won the Tony for best featured actress that year, as well as a host of other awards for the show.)  There were four of us that went, and at the end, three of us needed to go shopping for tissues and a new shirt because we had cried so much during the show.  So powerful.  So moving.  And while not necessarily the best thing I’ve ever seen on the stage, it’s probably the most meaningful, most heartbreaking, most thought provoking thing I’ve seen ever.

7. What are three smells that make you feel nostalgic?
A new jar of Play-Doh, because it instantly takes you back to age seven.  Jergens hand lotion, because that cherry scent reminds me of the instant that Nana finished washing the evening dishes and then coated her hands with the stuff to avoid dishpan hands.  A combo of freshly shaved wood, motor oil, and aftershave–the smell of my Papa as he worked in the shop after a day of work.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
I’ve been lax in my linky parties lately.  I had some life to take care of for a bit, and then just didn’t get back in the habit.  I apologize for being absent, as I do enjoy them.  I’m off to bed this evening, and if last night is any indication, I will be possessing about six inches of my king size bed as the dog, who at the age of 2 has learned to jump up to spend the night (seriously, he was so proud of himself.  He used to be terrified of the bed, now he looks at me every night as if to say ‘can we go to bed yet?’.  Too bad he can’t figure out how to get DOWN in the morning yet.), and became the biggest bed hog I’ve ever seen.  Night night y’all!

Return to the Hodgepodge

I know I haven’t done the hodgepodge for the last three or four weeks, but life got in the way of me doing what I want.  What’s up with that?  Regardless, I’m thrilled to be participating again.

1. April showers bring May flowers…what have you been showered with this month?

Grace.  I turned 40 9 days ago, and was able to celebrate it in the best way possible.  Five days up north with family that was in a non-fighting frame of mind, great meals out at places I would never be able to experience at home, and the birth of a beautiful baby girl.  So special that I now share my birthday with both a niece and a nephew.  It has continued at home through blessings at work and through friends.  If you have to grow older, this is the way to do it.

2. What is the nature of compassion? Is it learned or innate? Can compassion be learned?  If you’re a parent is this something you’ve purposely sought to instill in your children, and if so how?

Interesting question.  I feel that for the most part, it’s something that is innate for people.  I know people who come from the worst of circumstances that are the most compassionate people I know.  I know people who have parents that are amazingly loving and they are the possessors of hearts of stone.  To a degree, it can be learned, but I really feel it’s more the cultivation of an internal nature.  To those that it does not come naturally, it is more of a learned behavior to be developed.

3. Do you prefer to watch romantic comedy or romantic drama…or are you rolling your eyes saying bring on the action flicks?

Depends on the mood.  I love both–and I love action flicks too.  The tween movies like High School Musical or anything starring Miley Cyrus are out.  But if Bring It On or Pretty Woman are playing on TV, I’ll stop and watch.  Then again, same goes for Live Free or Die Hard. . . .

4. It’s April which means baseball season is officially upon us in the US of A. Humphrey Bogart is quoted as saying, “A hot dog at the ballgame beats roast beef at the Ritz.” Agree or disagree?

I eat one hot dog a year out of obligation to tradition at the ballpark.  Years I don’t go to the ballpark?  Well, that’s a bonus.  Richmond is the capital of minor league sports.  We lost our Atlanta Braves AAA farm team a few years ago, and now have the Flying Squirrels, a AA feed team for the San Francisco Giants.  I have yet to go to a Squirrels game, though they play just five miles from my house.  Baseball just isn’t my favorite.  I’d go for the Ritz anytime.

Now the Ritz or a football game?  That’s another question!

5. What’s something in your community or city that needs fixing or improving?

For the sake of my tires, the roads.  For the sake of my sanity, the local government.  For the sake of all involved, the traffic in  Short Pump.  The intersection just a few blocks up the street actually beat all of Northern Virginia as the worst intersection in the state for traffic, etc. for several years running.  That should tell you something.  You know, like FIX IT!

6. Share a song you enjoy that mentions flowers or a specific flower in its title.

Is it bad that I can only think of two songs that have flowers in the title?  “The Rose” by Bette Midler and “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn” by Guns ‘n Roses.  And I’m not a big fan of either of them.  Okay, I just scrolled through all 6000 of my songs in iTunes, and the only other one I found was Crimson & Clover, both versions (Joan Jett and the Blackhearts and Tommy James & the Shondells).  But THIS.  THIS was hilarious.  My favorite that mentions flora and fauna?  “Allergies” by the Barenaked Ladies!  Hilarious.  Plus, the story of my life.

7. April 22nd is Earth Day…do you believe in life on other planets?  That wasn’t the question you were expecting was it?

If we have life on this one, why not life on others.  Sure, why not.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Outside today the sky is blue and the breeze is blowing and a severe storm two days ago got the bulk of the active pollen down.  It’s about 70 degrees.  I’m stuck in an office with no windows.  And I really want to be outside, allergies not withstanding.  Yet if I had the day off, I would probably go home, mow the lawn, and then sit in the dark and cry because I couldn’t breathe.

Mother Nature isn’t ready to give up her cold weather

As I write this on Tuesday, I am sitting on the couch with a box of tissues on my chest, trying desperately not to sneeze all over the keyboard.  I get sick twice a year, both times it is allergy/sinus related.  Once when we go from summer to fall, and once when we go from winter to spring.  While it was beautiful last week, raining all weekend, snow/slush yesterday, and 65 degrees here today, I am sitting on the couch with an incredible hammer banging on the right side of my head/ear/nose/eye.  Honestly, I didn’t have any allergy issues at all until I was in my mid twenties, and now I am the worst in the family.  Ugh.  And until spring is firmly here, I stand by my opinion that Mother Nature is going through menopause–occasional hot flashes followed by periods of extreme cold and frost.  And we all must suffer in her wake.

1. March 20th is the first day of spring…is she a lion or a lamb in your part of the world?
Right now it’s like a weeping, old, tired lion.  It’s 1045 in the morning, and looking outside my window all I see is gray skies, puddles, and no sun.  For the fourth day in a row.

2. What’s the most dreaded task on your spring clean to-do list?  Do you have a ‘plan of attack’?
Oh let’s just be honest and say the whole house.  I love the idea of a clean home, just hate the practice to get there.

3. Peas…love ’em or hate ’em?  What’s a favorite dish you make using peas?
As a child I hated them, though I loved the practice of shelling a fresh harvest while sitting on the front porch with my nana or my aunts.  As an adult I have a new found appreciation for them, and enjoy them.  Have split pea soup ready for dinner tonight, though I think next time I make it I will do so with country ham instead of smoked.  Needs more salt.

4.  Do you feel under appreciated?
Sometimes.  Sometimes over and undeservedly appreciated.  But I’m at that weird age, where I’m no longer one of the young adults, and am instead one of the older leaders.  I sometimes feel I am over looked, but then again, recognition isn’t why I am volunteering for these activities.

5. Have you been using Google Reader?  If so, what are you switching to now that GR has announced retirement?  If not, how do you read your favorite blogs?
I never did.  I still use Yahoo, and subscribe to all in an RSS feed.

6. Anne Bradstreet is credited with the following quote~
“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant;  if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”
Agree or Disagree?  Why?
Spring is sometimes thought of as the reward for months of punishment.  Some people call it Karma, some people call it payoff, some call it justification.  I think that if you work hard and work honestly, you are given the fruits of your labor.  Why not enjoy the fruit salad.

7.  When did you last ‘spring for something’?  What was it?
Honestly, it’s been so long I can’t remember.

8.  Insert your own random thought here?
It’s been a rough couple weeks around here.  Not only am I ill with a run-of-the-mill cold, but mom is not doing well.  She fell at the baby shower a few weeks ago and broke her arm, a result of the deterioration of her disease.  Have we reached a new stage in her quality of life?  Are we at the end?  Mentally she’s not coping well, and I can’t blame her–she’s living a miserable existence, and her pride (which is about all she has left) prohibits her from doing more in public.  Will she even make it to see the newest grandchild in 28 days?  If you think about it, say a quick prayer.  I know the disease isn’t going away, and I know that she won’t be cured.  Just pray for mental peace.  For all of us.

Never never have I ever

Did you ever play that game in college?  (With or without the alcohol.)  I was always horrible at it.  So sheltered and naive that I never did any of the stuff that the others did.  Then again, when it was my turn, I could have everyone else saying “nope, never done that!” when I would throw out things like “had a bumblebee fly up my nose and get stuck” or “spent the evening trying to dislodge the tunafish can from the dog’s tongue”.

For some reason, these are the stories I thought of when reading through this week’s Hodgepodge.  See what answers come to your mind!

1. Do you play games of luck/chance for money? Have you ever played bingo for money?  Visited a casino?  Placed a bet on a horse? Bought a lottery ticket?
I’ve been to Dover Downs once.  My uncle’s family owns a bus company, and they do regular runs up there for people to play the slots.  They had an employee trip so people would be familiar.  I had two rolls of quarters.  At one point I was up by about $80, but my book was locked on the bus and this was before the age of smart phones.  Now I know why people lose their money–there’s nothing else to do!  Every now and again we’ll buy into the office lottery pool, but not often.  But where it used to get really cutthroat was playing Spite & Malice with my grandparents.  Man, if you had to pay a whole dime on your hand it was brutal!

2. Will you be preparing and/or dining on the traditional corned beef and cabbage meal this St. Patrick’s Day?  Mashed-baked-hash browned-french fried…your favorite way to have potatoes?
Despite the fact that we are originally (some of us anyway) from the Isles we never really participated in this holiday.  My good friend’s husband, however, is another story–it’s his Christmas, Thanksgiving, and July 4 rolled into one.  He takes off several days to celebrate.

3. What’s the last thing you felt ‘green with envy’ over?
This is a rare emotion for me.  My friends saying they’d paid off their student loan, maybe?

4. What’s at the end of your rainbow?
Financial security?  Marriage?  a good night’s sleep?

5. March 12th marks the anniversary of the death of Anne Frank (June 12, 1929 -March, 1945).  Anne’s diary spent detailing her time spent hiding from the Nazis ranks as one of the best selling books of all time.  Besides your blog, do you keep any sort of diary or journal? Was this a habit you developed as a child or is journaling something new for you?
No diary or journal.  I think I did for about four days when I was ten.  That’s about it though.  I haven’t always been good about writing it down, and blogging for me was more of a venting station than a diary.  I always loved writing though, and enjoyed the journals required for English class as a kid (you know, the ones where you have to write about how you would survive on a raft like Huck Finn, etc.).  That’s why I’ve enjoyed the link parties I’ve participated in for the last few months.  It forces me to recall thoughts and events.

6. What’s an item in your home or closet that contains every color of the rainbow.
My laptop has Stikrz of the Muppets on it.  I thought it was bland having just the outline, so I colored them all in to look like the real thing. 

7. Write a limerick with you as the subject. You can do it!! Just remember this is a family friendly blog…don’t make me get out my wooden spoon.
I was supposed to be working away
At my desk where I toil all the long day
But instead I found
Internet Memes abound
And I got nothing accomplished today

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 
Once again I have a ton of random thoughts going through my head.  Most importantly though, is that I turn 40 in just over four weeks.  And I thought my stepsister had given me a pretty cool gift three years ago when my nephew was born that day.  But my brother just gave me the best gift.  They got the phone call to schedule the C-Section, and it will be at 830 that morning.  So I will have a niece!  And that cute boy, bless his heart, asked me if I minded sharing a birthday.  Heck no!  It’s not like I’m 10 and annoyed that my baby sister has the same day, this is pretty cool!  I grew up with my Great-Grandma having her birthday on the 16th, one day after mine, and we always celebrated together when I could get to Charlottesville.  I always loved it, and thought it was special.  She was 100, I was 13 on the last one we shared together.  I hope this little muffin feels the same way and makes it to celebrate her 60th and my 100th on the same day too!

A Slushy, Snowy Hodgepodge

Greetings from the snowpocalypse center of the universe, Virginia.  Forecasts for today have gone from 8-12″, to rain only, to 5″, to slush, to 2″, to the fact that it is pouring rain at my house in the morning, yet three inches of snow less than five miles west of me.  School closings all around.  Good time to go to the hodgepodge!

1. When you’ve eaten in a restaurant do you complete their comment card? Do you take online surveys highlighted at the bottom of store receipts?
As someone who worked in restaurants for 15-20 years, it depends.  Comments card almost always, receipt survey rarely unless I get free food out of it.  Comment cards get back to the individual store, receipt surveys are data collected by corporate so it rarely goes back to the location.  And I fill them out for good and for bad, for I feel compliments are needed just as much as constructive criticism.

2. The (US) ban on women in combat was lifted at the end of January. It will probably be next year before specifics are worked out, but its been reported over 200,000 front line positions will eventually open up to women.  Your thoughts?
If you are a woman who wants to serve in the military, then you should also have the right to serve at the front lines. 

3.  In looking back at all the blog posts you’ve written, what’s your favorite post title?
As I scroll through 15 pages of titles, I realize I’m not that creative or consistent with titling.  You know how every episode of friends was “the one . . . .”?  I have friends that blog title that way.  Or ones that blog title from songs titles.  I’m not so creative.  I did, however, love this one:  Wow. Just, well, wow! because of the emotions that the memories of that night bring.  But for title alone?  I guess it would be How you know when a Southern gal has a juicy story to tell:

4. What’s worse-overly permissive parents or overly protective parents?  Did your own parents lean more to the permissive or the protective category?  If you’re a parent where do you fall?
I’m not a parent, yet I helped raised a few children.  Either in my own family or in someone else’s.  And I think there is an argument for balance.  My father was overly permissive in that he was only concerned with three things–I don’t get pregnant before I get married, I don’t get married before I graduate from college, and I’m home before he gets up for work the next morning.  With that much leniency, it’s so easy to get in trouble.  The contrast was life with my mother, where leaving your toothbrush on the counter instead of the holder was two weeks grounding.  You’re too afraid to breathe because it will upset the balance.

5.  Candlelight-moonlight-firelight-bright lights in the big city…which one’s your favorite?
Firelight.  Nothing beats it.  From bonfires to beach fires to fireplaces and fire pits.  Best thing ever.

6. Dr. Seuss’s birthday was celebrated on Saturday. What’s a favorite book you remember (Seuss or otherwise) from your own childhood?  Did books play an important role in your growing up years? Explain.
Books were everything when I was growing up.  My favorite children’s book I discovered as an adult–The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch.  I escaped into books all the time.  I still do.  There was a series of books called Sweet Pickles that were about a bunch of animals, I loved them as a small child.  But what I remember most about my childhood is Anne Shirley, Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden.

7.  To quote Dr. Seuss…“From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere.” from One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish.Share something funny you’ve recently read, seen or heard.
I actually blogged about it recently.  Lou Holtz, who I think is a nitwit on good days, cracked me up with this comment:  “He wasn’t particularly fast, as a matter of fact if he got in a race with a pregnant mother he’d come in third, but he could throw the ball very very well.”

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
When I got to work today, I was met in the parking lot with someone who said “office is closed, go home”.  My born-in-South-Dakota boss had other ideas though, and I had to work all day.  There were FIVE of us in the office. Out of 120.  FIVE.  And I was one of them.  I want my snow day!!!

Some hodge and some podge

I usually try and write at least a little something before getting straight to the questions, but today I just don’t feel like it.  So here’s the hodgepodge!

1. When were you last ‘on a mountaintop’?  You may answer in the literal or figurative sense.
I’m going with the literal on this.  Saturday.  Yes, less than a week ago.  I went to Charlottesville to see my almost 91-year-old Grandma.  We went to visit my grandfather (and great grandmother, great aunt/uncle, and a cousin I never knew I had).  They are all buried on Monticello mountain.  Actually, they’re all buried in the same ten foot section on Monticello mountain (yes, that same Monticello mentioned in last week’s Hodgepodge).  Yep, that’s right, in the light snow we took a not-very-mobile nonagenarian to climb down a mountainside in order to visit dead relatives.  I’m not much on the ‘come see me when I’m gone’ practice, but it means a lot to her, so we go when I am there to drive her.

2.  Do you establish and maintain a strict budget in your household?  What is one piece of financial advice you would offer someone just starting out on their own?
I’m trying to.  It’s hard when you live on $0.67 between paychecks.  Seriously.  It’s down to the penny.  But there is a light at the end of the tunnel, I’m sure of it.  Just frugal living!

3.  Cherries-yay or nay?  Cherry pie, cherry cola, black forest cake, or a scoop of Ben and Jerry’s Cherries Garcia…pick one.
Yes!  Absolutely yes.  Bing cherries.  Ranier cherries.  Tart cherries.  Sweet cherries.  Dried cherries.  Sour cherry candy.  Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia FroYo.  But my two favorites are probably black cherry ice cream (reminds me of my Papa) and my nana’s recipe for Tart Cherry Cobbler.  Served warm with vanilla bean ice cream.  Every now and again I get a hankering and make it.  And can eat half of it in one sitting if I put forth a modicum of effort.

4.  Should you ever discuss religion or politics with people you don’t know?
That’s kind of a touchy subject, isn’t it?  I would say yes, but it depends on the people.  If I’m never going to see them again, then sure why not.  If you ask me about my faith, then absolutely I’ll tell you.  There are subjects that I don’t talk about often, even with people who I’m good friends with, because they’re hot button issues (does God love my gay friends?  yes, He does.  Do I think homosexuality is a sin?  No.  Do I think that women can be leaders in the church?  Yes.  Do I think that God loves Republicans and hates Democrats?  You must be kidding.  What a stupid question.)  Sadly enough, I think I’m more willing to be open and honest and lay it all on the line with someone I don’t know–and will probably not see again–than I am with those I know and love.  And when it comes to politics?  Well, that’s almost always a no.  Mostly because I work in a two person office and the other half, while on a whole different school of thought from me, loves to take every opportunity to knock our government, our leaders, our laws, and the failure of our society.  And I refuse to rise to the bait, participate in the conversation, or feed his soap box.  I love him dearly, but I can only take so much.  Trust me, on November 7, 2012, I did everything I could to make sure he was out of the office all day so that I wouldn’t have to hear his opinions, complaints, and predictions on the ruination of the country.  Let me put it this way–he still has a framed campaign poster from when Ronald Reagan campaigned hanging in his office.  Everyone that has come after has been out to ruin the world.  And heaven forbid you point out that Reagan was once an outspoken Democrat before switching sides . . . .  That’s blasphemy.

5.  When you take a road trip do you prefer to be the driver or the passenger?  Where were you headed on your last road trip?
Driver.  I get carsick too easy when I am passenger.  Come to find out it has to do with bad allergy/sinus issues.  Road trip?  Must have been my trip to Pennsylvania Memorial Day 2012.  Which means I need another!

6. If we peeked inside your closet, what color would we say is most prevalent?
Black.  I wear black pants every day Labor Day to Memorial Day, and then have the top half black as well at least three days a week.

7. Who’s your favorite senior citizen and why are they special?
Oh there are so many.  Even if I stick with the non-family, currently living variety.  I grew up with so many in the church that are a joy, an inspiration, and a delight to have known as a part of my life.  At the funeral that I was at two weeks ago, I was told before I sat down that I had to go hug Mrs. Walker.  She was my Acteens leader when I was ten, and still asks about me.  And remembers where I am attending, that I work with children, and makes my day when she shares love.  Growing up, going to church with my nana, I had to make sure I gave Mrs. She-Shepperson (don’t know why I added the She, but that’s what I called her) a hug.  She always had Smarties in her pocket, come to think of it.  There was Sylvia, who I also saw a few weeks ago who made sure to come hug me.  She’s got to be in her 80s now, and that beauty mark she paints on every day hasn’t changed a bit.  I feel so blessed that I was able to grow up with such influences in my life, and taught that there is nothing wrong with learning from and socializing with my elders.  It’s the one thing I truly wish I was able to do at the church that I currently attend.  I feel like there is a substantial division of the ages, and not much intermingling.  And it’s a shame for the younger generations.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
Oh, I always have random thoughts.  SO MANY random thoughts.  Today’s sampling:  (1) I had my iPod on shuffle today.  Hold Me Now by the Thompson Twins played.  Love that song.  Never understood why they were the Thompson Twins when it was a trio.  (2) Had a birthday dinner for a friend at Plaza Azteca tonight.  It was just meh.  I’ve decided the homemade guacamole is the only thing worth eating there, the trots that come after everything else are not worth it.  TMI?  (3) Did anyone else watch Castle on Monday night?  Ho.Lee.Cow.   (4) For some reason, Levi is preferring to grab a towel from the dirty clothes hamper and dragging it to the back hallway for his lounging.  This instead of the sofa or his bed in the living room.  I guess he just wanted a change of scenery?  (5) Last night I didn’t fall asleep until after 4am.  Which made the 615 alarm truly a problem.  Here’s hoping I get a great night’s sleep . . . .  and finally, (6) I know I don’t know her personally, but can I tell you how excited I am about Robin Roberts returning to GMA on Wednesday morning?  I wrote a very personal story here about why I was so moved about her struggle with MDS and her fight.  And as I write this on Tuesday evening, on the one year anniversary of my friend’s passing from this same horrible thing, I celebrate the triumph that is Robin’s return, and know my friend is cheering her on from heaven.  And while she’s watching, she’s closing with the prayer that Robin says has led her family through the years every day:

The Light of God surrounds me.
The Love of God enfolds me.
The Power of God protects me.
The Presence of God watches over me.
Wherever I am, God is. 

Day One of 40 . . . .

1.  This week marks the beginning of Lent…will you be giving something up or adding anything to your life during this season of the year?
I have given up things for Lent in the past, but the last two years lost track of time and we were two weeks from Easter before I realized it.  Among other things, I have given up sodas (and never really picked them up again), TV, and sleep.  Yes, sleep.  Or more accurately, giving up the snooze button.  I was trying to get to the gym every day before work, and it worked for a while, but then I got sick.  So not so much.  Besides, giving up sleep?  What was I thinking???  A few years ago (okay, more than a few) I was listening to NPR on my lunch break, and I heard a Catholic priest talk about how when he was in school, his roommates were trying to figure out the whole Lenten sacrifice thing.  They didn’t think it was right that he got to pick what he was giving up, because he’d pick things that were easy to do without.  So they decided they should pick his Lenten sacrifice for him.  And they have done this for over 20 years.  You can read the article on NPR here.  It really is a fascinating account of what it means to him and his friends to have this ritual every year.  Anyway, I’ve been trying to figure out what or if I’m giving up anything this year.  Refined sugar?  Lately chocolate cravings would really make this difficult.  I thought about TV again, but I’m also realistic.  Facebook?  I am not sure.  My mother doesn’t get why I agonize over this–we were raised Baptist, she says.  Baptists don’t do Lenten sacrifices, she says.  She doesn’t get that it’s an exercise in discipline for me, and a way to connect closer to God as I am still trying to decide . . . .   Edited to add:  This year the Father has to give up ginger (ale included), lollipops and donuts.  

2. The day before Lent is Shrove Tuesday… tradition states you eat pancakes on this day. In some parts of the world Shrove Tuesday is actually known as ‘pancake day’. How do you like your pancakes? Or don’t you?
I never heard about this!  How do I not know about this????  I love pancakes.  Haven’t made them in a while, but I do love them.  Must have lots of butter and a bit of real maple syrup.

3.  I’m sure there are many, but what’s one love song you really love?
“Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton.  I think I listened to that on repeat over and over and over again in college.  Second place would be “This Night” by Billy Joel.

4.  What are some things you do to let others know you love them?
Tell them.  Show them.  Pray for them.

5.  Roses…red, pink, or do you prefer another color? Can you recall the last time someone gave you flowers? Given your choice would you like to open the door and see a dozen red roses, a dozen purple tulips, or a dozen pink peonies?
My boss’s wife gave me flowers for my birthday last year.  Such a sweet lady.  Bright pink Gerber daisies.  I love live flowers of any kind.  Peonies are beautiful, tulips are fun every now and then, but I love yellow and orange roses too.

6.  President’s Day will be celebrated in America next Monday. Does US Presidential history and trivia interest you?  Many Presidential homes are open to the public and offer guided tours…Monticello (Jefferson’s home), Mount Vernon (Washington’s home), Montpelier (James Madison’s home), Hyde Park (FD Roosevelt’s home) and The White House (home to the sitting President) to name just a few. Of those listed which would you be most interested in touring?  Why?
Considering that four of the ones on your list are in my home state (well, if you count the White House) and three of them are within an hours drive, you couldn’t grow up in Virginia without having it crammed down your throat.  Plus if you add in Ash Lawn, home of James Monroe.  It is sort of fascinating.  Yes, I do enjoy it.  I haven’t been in decades though.  I should go again.  I could also go see Pine Knot, Teddy Roosevelt’s country hunting lodge, Woodrow Wilson’s  birthplace and library, and President Hoover’s camp at Rapidan.  I’m telling you, this area is a political history buff’s dream come true.

7.  Are you good at keeping secrets?
Sometimes.  Depends on the secret and my level of interest.  I don’t like to be the secret keeper for friends, as it’s usually a bitter and hateful kind of thing.  If it’s good news, that’s another story.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
Hmmmm.  Random thought . . . random thought.  I really need to clean my house.  Like I REALLY need to clean.  And you know what?  I just don’t care. 

Happy Wednesday y’all!

Tardy to the Hodgepodge Party

I’m so sorry!  I can’t believe that time got away from me and I didn’t get this typed up last night.  On the plus side, nine hours of sleep last night!  I was in bed by 930!  It was AWESOME!  Let’s not delay any longer, and instead answer the:
1.  Chinese New Year will be celebrated on February 10th, and 2013 is the year of the snake. When did you last see a snake?  Are you okay around snakes or do they give you the shivers?
Probably at the zoo a decade ago?  They’re not exactly prevalent in my back yard.  Voles, mice, chipmunks, and rabbits I’ve got.  Snakes? Not so much.  I’m not particularly fond of them, but I don’t mind them so much either.  Oddly enough it’s the little ones that freak me out.  Big fat boa constrictor or python?  So cool.  Little garden snake?  Eeewwww.
2. The color red in Chinese culture usually means good luck.  Do you believe in luck?
Excellent question.  I think probably no.  I think I believe in circumstances more than I believe in luck, and karma is certainly at play there.  But I also believe that your ‘luck’ is what you make of it.
3. sledding-ice skating-building a snowman…if given a choice, which activity would you choose?  Which of the three have you done most recently?
Sledding.  So much fun.  But I’ve probably ice skated more recently, as in the last ten years or so.  Or maybe even longer.  But nothing beats the feeling of racing down a hill with the ice cold prickles on your face!
4.  Ralph Waldo Emerson is credited as saying, “The years teach much which the days never knew.”  Where have you seen this quote played out in your own life?
Are you trying to get all deep and philosophical on me?  I guess the experience of learning over time and looking back and saying “if I only knew then”, right?
5. When was the last time you ate a cupcake?
Maybe last month?  I had just cake instead of the cupcake yesterday for a birthday at the office.  But now I want the real thing.  Dang, I’m going to have to stop by my local bakery . . . .
6. What’s something you can’t say no to?
Ice cream.  Family guilt.  New experiences.  My grandmother.  And so on.
7.  Are you a doodler?
Sometimes.  Especially during conference calls.  But lately, not so much.
8.  Insert your own random thought here.
I’m in the midst of homemade soup week.  Sunday was Split Pea and Smoked Ham.  Eh, needed more salt and to soften the celery/onions up prior to cooking.  Monday was Asparagus with Mushrooms and Wild Rice.  It was awesome.  Tuesday was spinach with vegetables.  Very good, but even better today for lunch after the flavors melded a bit.  I’m trying to figure out what I want to do tonight.  Unplanned I’ve had a green soup three days in a row.  So tonight I’m trying to figure out if I want to make Mulligatawny, Posole, Chicken & Orzo, or Pork Noodle.  Moroccan Vegetable will wait until the weekend I think. Which gets your vote for tonight?
(Full disclosure: I realize it’s so late in the day that
I might be getting an answer for Friday’s supper! :))

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?????

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 fromthissideofthepond.com 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!

Wintery Mix of Hodgepodge

It’s time for the weekly link up!  Here we go . . . .
  1. Lake Superior University has once again published a list of words/phrases they think should be banished from the Queen’s English…here’s the list for 2013-fiscal cliff, kick the can down the road, double down, job creators/creation, passion/passionate, yolo (an acronym for you only live once), spoiler alert, bucket list, trending, superfood, boneless wings, and guru.  Which of these words/phrases would you most like to see banished from everyday speech and why. Go here to read more about how the words were chosen.
    Yolo.  Because I believe in grammar.  Because I believe that you should take the time to write.  Because every time I see it in a Facebook post I have to go look it up because I forget what it means.
  2. When was the last time you rode a train?  Where did you go?
    I think it was when we took a day trip to NYC.  So maybe April 2011?  We left here at 6am, had a friend get on in Philly, and were in NYC in time to see The Normal Heart matinee.  Took a quick trip around 30 Rock, went to dinner, and then caught the evening show of The Book of Mormon. 
  3. Bagels-yay or nay?  Favorite ‘flavor’?  Favorite topping?
    Yes.  What kind of question is this?  Of course, yes.  Schmear.  I’m not saying I wouldn’t still go through the Krispy Kreme drive through, but there is nothing wrong with a good bagel!
  4. ‘Tis the season of awards shows…if you could star in a movie already made which one would you choose?
    This question makes up for the previous one.  Oh so many.  Now that Les Mis has been made I could be Madame Thenardier.  Agnes Gooch in Auntie Mame.  Sister Hubert in Nunsense.  Ouiser in Steel Magnolias.  I love those quirky supporting roles.
  5. The move towards single gender classrooms has been making the news in recent months….what say you?  Do you think kids perform better if separated by gender and are taught differently or is that discrimination?  If you’re a parent, is this something you’d support in regard to your own children?
    I don’t have children, so it’s hard to answer.  I see the benefit for the single gender classrooms, as you can eliminate some of the issues.  Yet new ones appear.  In the interest of fairness, and to make sure the same curriculum as the opposite gender, the same teachers should teach both classes.  Just swap out.
  6. What’s your favorite thing about staying in a hotel?
    Clean Towels. Every day. I will sleep on the same sheets to stay green, but I want new towels. 
  7. Do you have a ‘word’ for 2013?  What’s the story behind your choice?
    Not really.  My language skills are fairly developed.
  8. Insert your own random thought here.
    The news is currently on in the background.  And they are once again showing clips from something Barack Obama has said.  You know, he is a very charismatic speaker, regardless of your politics.  But I want a dollar for every time he says “uh” and pauses in his speeches.  I would be able to pay off my student loans and credit card bills by the State of the Union. 

Hodgepodge Smodgepodge

Once again it is Wednesday.  And here is the weekly Hodgepodge, brought to you by From This Side of the Pond.  I know, a crappy post title, but I didn’t have much inspiration today.  But I’m participating! So far, it’s been fun! (This is only my fourth week participating).  I’ve enjoyed reading others responses and then trolling through blogs, it’s a great time suck for boredom at work during this slow season.  But I digress.  Without further ado, here we go!

1. What is ONE thing or area in your home or life you hope to report is completely organized when 2013 draws to a close?  Do you  have a plan to make it happen?
The back bedroom/craft room/office/etc.  While unemployed a few years ago I was really good about getting in there and keeping it organized because I was USING it as a craft room.  Now it is a junk room.  Clothes everywhere, books, projects, etc.

2. What’s the worst uniform you’ve ever had to wear for a job?
I’ve waited tables for years, but always top restaurants so the ‘uniform’ wasn’t too bad.  When I worked at a theme park I did the costumes for actors, so no polyester park uniform was required (plus I could sneak away mid day to ride roller coasters).  So I guess the worst?  That would be when I first started working in the corporate office for a clothing company.  Women were permitted to wear pants at that time, but we had to wear hose if we showed skin (heels with slacks, etc.).  My solution?  Wear boots!  I haven’t had to wear suits to work in a decade, even though I now work for a financial services industry, so I think that would truly be an adjustment to have to go back to that again.

3. What was your last kitchen ‘mishap’?  This question comes to you courtesy of Betty who blogs over at A Glimpse Into Midlife…everyone go say hi to Betty!
Hi Betty!  Mishap…. Oh!  Last night!  Was cleaning out the fridge to put stuff in the garbage before pick up this morning (greens gone bad, etc.) and I had a half can of tomato paste and a half can of tomato sauce from where I had made butter chicken earlier in the week but didn’t have any small cans to open.  So I had them sitting on the shelf, and when I put them in the garbage bag I was holding, I missed and they went tumbling out the sides.  I quickly discovered that the dog doesn’t like tomato and wouldn’t clean up the floor after me (boo!) so I had to actually scrub it clean at midnight last night.  I realize this isn’t a cooking mishap, just a kitchen-related one, but I can’t think of the last cooking related one I had.  My peanut butter balls at Christmas this year tasted too sugary and not peanut buttery enough, maybe?

4. How do you protect yourself from other people’s negativity?
Avoidance and denial.  Not the best, but it works.  Especially as relates to family members.

5. Who in your family do you most resemble (physically)? If you have children, who do people say they favor? Do you agree?
People swear I am the spitting image of my mother until they see me with my father.  I think as a child, I favored some of my mother’s childhood photos, but now?  Not so much.  My build?  100% the paternal line.  It’s maddening.  No kiddos, so no idea….

6. January 8th is National Bubble Bath Day…will you be celebrating?
If I had only known I would have made arrangements to do so.  Maybe I’ll have a In Remembrance Of celebration later this week….

7.  Some of the ‘world’s best winter festivals‘ are – Mardi Gras (New Orleans), Quebec Winter Festival (Canada), Sundance Film Festival (Park City, Utah),  Rio Carnivale (Brazil), Sapporo Snow Festival (Japan), Venice Carnivale (Italy) and the Harbin Ice Festival (Northern China).  Of those listed (and if cost were not a factor) which would you most like to attend and why?
Because I love movies and would love to see a bunch of them?  Sundance.  But for true enjoyment I would LOVE to go to the Snow or Ice Festival in Asia.  SO awesome!  Aside from the obvious splendor of the Ice and Snow exhibits, Sapporo Japan is a beautiful town and I’ve never been to China.  I loved South Korea and would enjoy the opportunity to spend more time in that part of the country.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
I promise you, one day I am going to have to give CPR to the man who has the adjacent office.  It’s funny to listen to, but kinda scary.  He’s a sweet man, but when he gets frustrated, all 60+ years of his 5’10” person turns screaming red, balls his fists, and jumps up and down in anger.  Not to mention he makes my Navy friends look like they need lessons in swearing.  I swear he’s going to stroke out one day.  His assistant and his wife both swear he’s not that way at home, but the sounds coming from the computer where he can’t figure out how to print on letterhead are cracking me up.