So were you nice to someone today?

Without any other fluff, here’s this week’s hodgepodge!

1. February 17th is National Random Acts of Kindness Day. It lands on the calendar one day after National Do Something for a Grouch Day (February 16) which somehow feels related. Perhaps the 16th inspired the 17th?

Tell about a time you performed a random act of kindness or were the recipient of one. Will you make an effort to perform a random act of kindness on the 17th? Share details if you’re so inclined, and if you have something specific in mind.
I don’t know that I’ll make an effort tomorrow, but it’s a good idea.  The first I thought of was when my car broke down on the side of the road, and a girl stopped and drove me home.  I’ll never forget when she turned to me and said, “Always happy to help a chick in need” and her stopping made the difference between me completely losing it or holding it together that day.  So I’ve tried to do the same when seeing people stranded on the side of the road.

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So here’s the thing . . . .

I started this blog umpteen years ago (okay, six) with the thought that it would be a bunch of ramblings from my busy brain.  And at times it has been.  I have gone through blogging challenges where you have to blog something every day for forty days.  I have had months where I haven’t posted much of anything.  I discovered the world of linkups last year (how had I not found those before???) and figured that posting three days a week, even if it was mundane facts and thoughts, at least had me writing.

But lately that hasn’t been enough.  I would like to get away from the superficial, list facts about yourself posts and get back to the meatier posts of substance that I used to do.  Not that I don’t like the linkups–I love them.  Sunday Social, the Monday Listicles, the now-defunct Tuesday Topics (which was probably my favorite), and the Wednesday Hodgepodge.  I did them for a majority of last year, but then they started to feel like a chore or something that I was obligated to do and not something I enjoyed doing.

And for lack of a better term, they felt like fluff.  Continue reading

On the Sidelines of History

Three days ago, on Thursday, a violent storm through my town knocked loose a branch from a tree in my back yard.  This limb fell on a wire that leads to my house, pulling it loose from the house.  The strain of that wire hanging in the air snapped one of the wires in the bundle.  That wire was my cable source.

I was gone all day Friday with my mother for her surgical procedure then babysitting my ‘nephews’ while their mother was at her schools’ graduations.  Saturday was my Father’s Day celebration out of town, so today, Sunday, is really the first chance I’ve been at home with nothing on TV to watch for the afternoon.

I realize this should be a blessing, and an opportunity to clean my house.  But after the week that I have had (working 40 hours in three days, volunteering for a golf tournament, and then the aforementioned Friday and Saturday activities), about all I was able to manage after church and a few hours at the playground with the same nephews was to veg out on the couch.  So I’m going through old items on the Tivo.

There are movies that I had recorded, some almost two years ago, and am now able to watch because the ‘new’ stuff is not recording.  One of the shows that I have been meaning to watch and never had the time was The Freedom Riders: An American Experience.

I was a triple major in college.  One of my majors was American History.  I even focused on the history of the South.  I was aware of Jim Crow laws.  I remember my elder family members speaking of them, though not often.  I remember my mother talking about desegregation of her schools, and how that was a huge upheaval here in Virginia.  I had heard of the Freedom Riders.

It’s oh so humbling to say, but here is the basic truth: I am ashamed.  I am ashamed that I would answer, when asked, that yes I knew about the Freedom Riders.  I knew that blacks and whites rode the bus together.

I am ashamed because I knew nothing. Continue reading

Zing!

I never knew Lou Holtz could be so funny.  I’ve watched him for years, and generally think he’s a nit wit.  But I’m watching the extras in the movie The Blind Side and he was talking about how he originally only had one line in the movie.  And was slated for a 12 hour call.  So he knew he could get more lines in there.  Then, talking about Houston Nutt, a former player under Lou Holtz and a former co-coach with Holtz, Holtz said  “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.”

I’m sorry, that just cracked me up.

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!

Why I Choose Homeschooling

When I was a kid, it was only the kids that were unable to socialize properly that were homeschooled.  I think I knew two, a brother sister pair, and I had heard rumors of the other local families that did.  And it was always done in hushed tones, because they were kids that were different, kids that had a problem, and homeschooling was the last option available to them.

Now, over twenty years later, I can’t even begin to count the number of people I know that homeschool their children.  Families with one child, families with four children.  Actually, come to think of it, lots of families with four children for some reason.  Families with more than just their own being homeschooled.  Families that like the free structure homeschooling provides and the flexibility to pursue the individual interests of the family and the child.

Now, were I to have children, I’d homeschool in a hot minute.  Of course, while I’m being honest, I also want the husband that supports me and that makes enough money that we can comfortably afford for me to not work and stay at home with children.  And while I’m having a fantasy life it would also be ten years ago so that I’d be 30 not 40 making these predictions.  But hey, since I”m getting all hypothetical . . . .

I would love the opportunity.  I would welcome the chance to stay at home with my kids and have a hand in their cognitive development that most people don’t get to experience.  I would gladly participate in the co-op so that my kids would benefit from the art teacher that gives lessons, the hiking guide that works with various nature and science opportunities.  I would relish the fact that timing would be on the pace for the kids and the one that works best for our family structure.

But most of all?  I love the fact that the whole thing can be done without an alarm clock.  That the schedule is set to what works best for you.  That you can wake up in the morning sometime after 6am and still get your day accomplished.  That you don’t have to wake up two hours before the sun rises to get people ready and to get in a classroom before dawn.

Selfish?  Yes.  But it’s the brutal honest truth.

Year End Survey for 2012

On LiveJournal I was challenged to complete this for 2011.  It’s probably the best version of “answer-these-random-questions-about-your-life-for-strangers”, as it actually requires some thought instead of just ‘favorite color’ kind of responses, so I thought to make it an annual thing.  Since I have all of five posts on LiveJournal in three years (and the only other people I know over there have left), I’ve moved it to this little blog of mine.  Here is the survey for 2012.

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?
I have been staring at this question for about an hour.  I’m sure there was something, I just cannot think of it off the top of my head.  Edit:  A-ha!  I thought of something!  I experienced a derecho.  Freak storm here the end of June, lost power for a week with 100-105 degree temperatures and added a new word to the local vocabulary.  We stood in the corner office (made of glass) and watched the storm while the rest of the non-idiot thinking people we work with huddled in the middle for safety. 

2. Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I rarely make them, however I did make them for 2013.  So I guess the answer is not applicable, and yes.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Several coworkers, and my youngest cousin but we’re not close any longer.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
For the first time in a long time, no family member or someone I worked with/spouse of passed away.  Yay 2012!

5. What countries did you visit?
Can the other side of the river be counted as another country?

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
Security.  Decent health insurance.  A dinner date.

7. What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
2012 was not an unremarkable year, I swear, but I can’t think of anything noteworthy enough that I remembered the date for it!

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Continue reading