Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Back-to-School Birthday Hodgepodge

As a child, I sometimes lived in states where school started in mid- August, but I don't remember ever celebrating my  late August birthday in an elementary school class.  Cupcakes from home? Special banner on the front of my desk?  Or 25 kids singing "Happy Birthday" out of tune at the tops of their lungs? 

Nope. None of that stuff that teachers seem to do nowadays.  I  just don't think it was part of the school culture when I was a kid.  So last century! 

But when school started after Labor Day, my birthday was almost forgotten by everyone except family. Back-to-school hubbub trumped everyone's event calendar. 

Good thing I've put all that babyish self-centered nonsense behind me now that I'm an adult. 
Good thing I don't get excited about stretching my birthday from mid-August to Labor Day and beyond. Good thing I don't blog about it for three weeks in a row. 

Good thing  I don't rip open  all birthday cards like I'm ten. 
 You'd have thought so by the way I opened this one from Sally .

She made my day! A birthday card from a bloggy friend that came in the snail mail????? OVER THE TOP EXCITING!!!
Here it is!!! 

She wrote the sweetest message on the facing page. Please go say hello to her over at the 5 Henry's! She's a regular in these here HP parts and I'm so thrilled to connect . She's my West Coast alter ego. 

An-y-way.....all that to introduce THIS!!

1.  What's something you wanted to do this summer that you never got around to actually doing?  

Redecorating my master bedroom .  Just had other priorities including physical therapy for a shoulder that's hard to scrape faux finishes with. 
And yes, that was the worst sentence structure in grammatical history, but do I care?  Yes. Am I gonna rewrite it? No. It hurts my shoulder.

2. Share a favorite memory of your own back -to-school days as a child.

Clearly, it didn't involve celebrating my birthday at school. Did I mention that? 
I think it was the excitement of seeing who my new teacher was going to be and what students were in my class, where my desk was.    

When I became a teacher later in life, albeit a brief stint in actual classrooms, I looked forward to meeting new students--and seeing my new desk. (Hint: It was the biggest one. Yay!)

3.  What's one chore or daily task you prefer doing 'old-school' ?

In the school year (keeping with the theme) I enjoy taking my son (7th grade this year--i know, I can hardly believe it, either!)  to and from school.  I would miss that time (16 minutes each way) if he rode a bus.  This morning I prayed aloud in the car as I drove. I guess I was getting long-winded; when I was finished he said, "I thought you were going to start praying for John's dog's leg  and Susie's grandmother's knees."  
(You know, the prayer requests of kiddoes in Sunday School that take up the whole first half hour but we love that kids care so much about their neighbor's dog's leg?)

4.  Share something you've learned in life through the 'school of hard knocks'.

Want a list?   
I didn't think so. 
One thing?  That I am replaceable.

Or at least the things I do can be done by other people.

5.  As a child, did you mostly bring or buy your lunch for school? What was your favorite thing to find in your lunchbox?

Mostly brought it.  My favorite thing to find  in my lunchbox was a quarter. My mom always sent the most nutritious lunches (thanks, Mama) but almost never a sweet treat or junk food. I would take the quarter she meant for milk and buy an ice cream sandwich. (Hey, it was in the dairy food group.)

6. Football season is upon us which has me wondering... how big of a sports fan are you (not just football) ? On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being 'I scream at the players through my television screen' and 1 being 'is knitting a sport?' where do you fall in fandom? 

I'm a 5.  I can take it or leave it, unless the Ravens or Orioles are doing extremely well, but honestly, ever since Ray Lewis retired, I'm really not a big Ravens fan anymore, and I am not an informed O's fan either. 

I do prefer to have either a screen or some hand sewing in my lap no matter what I'm watching. 

7. Share a favorite quote you think might inspire students of all ages at the start of a new school year. 

"If you want to have friends, you must show thyself friendly and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother."  Prov. 18:24    

Two bits of wisdom in one small verse: 
       -Don't be shy and self-centered. Reach out and make others feel the way you wish they'd make you feel. Do it first. Everyone is just as nervous as you are, with just as many hang-ups. Get over yourself and be a good friend.
         -Jesus is that friend who sticks closer to you than any blood relative. 

8.   My friend Renee , the one with breast cancer, is in the hospital again, with blood clots in her arm and near her collarbone. Never a good thing, so please pray for her.  She has already lost her head (had it shaved) and also three of her  seven kids shaved theirs in support--including her eldest daughter who had long brunette hair.  Simply amazing love.   If Renee' is up to company tomorrow, I plan to visit her. If not, I'll see what I can do to ease her burden from afar (help homeschool for a day, 
take a meal, something).   

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

It's my Birthday and I'll Hodgepodge if I Want To

1. As August draws to a close, share what's been your favorite weekend of the entire summer?

Probably last weekend. We went to Ohio to visit some of my hubby's family. The weekend including boating (for us all) and tubing (for him and our son) as well as visiting quilt shops with my SIL and niece, and shopping the farmer's market where  they're vendors.   

2. Labor Day is marked in the US of A on Monday, September 1st.  What paying job have you held that you've loved the most? Liked the least?

Paying job I loved most? Teaching 5th and 6th grade in a Christian school for two years. 

Liked the least?  Being a hostess in a hotel restaurant.

3. Does the new school year start before or after Labor Day where you live? When do you think it should begin? There is much discussion now about older students having later start times to their school day...your thoughts?

For public school it starts this week.  For our private school, it starts after Labor Day. I think it should begin after Labor Day.  As for later start times for older students, I'm all for it. They have biological needs for more sleep, and so their parents who are kept up by those deep talks that seem to start at midnight. 

 I think it's as bad to expect mental alertness from a sleep deprived teens as to expect a happy disposition from a child who is way past their naptime.  

4. What's something you've worked at recently that could be deemed a 'labor of love'?

 A chemo quilt for my friend Renee'. 

5.Which of the following work idioms can you most relate to right now...'A woman's work is never done.', 'All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.' 'Many hands make light work.'

Many hands make light work.   I took charge of ordering my son's school uniforms. Hubby took him out for soccer cleats, and our daughter went shopping with him for supplies.

6. Crab or lobster or thanks, but no thanks? Favorite way to have your choice prepared?

I like both but I don't like lobster enough to pay the prices they fetch.  Steam my crabs in Old Bay, please.    I  am beyond sad that I haven't A SINGLE CRAB this summer!!!  Crab cakes, yes, but not one crab have I cracked open and that is just not a complete summer in my book.

7. Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, 'Three rules of work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.' Which of the three do you consider to be the most important? Share one of your own 'rules of work'.

The last one.  In fact, the Chinese symbol for "crisis' is the same as for "opportunity."  

One of my rules of work?  Avoid it and take a nap?      Okay, seriously.  I guess I try to "do the worst first" if faced with a bunch of tasks.  Get it over with. 

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

My birthday was yesterday the 26th.  I spent a few hours with my oldest son at his doctor appointment getting his splint off, stitches out, and boot on.  Spent the evening at a back to school night. And I got an amazing phone call I'd love to share if I find energy. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Blogging from the Beach

Today is our last full day of our beach vacation. It's really different having just one child along instead of the four (or more) that we have had in the past.

Ah, well. Life goes on.  Eventually kids grow up and get jobs and get married and get all kinds of responsible that you raised them to get--and then you feel a twinge of sadness that they can't go on vacation with you.

Meanwhile, our baby--our 12 year old--gets our full attention.

We've played Monopoly twice.

We've gone go-karting.

We've been in the crashing waves--and by "we" I mean my husband and son. I have too much fear after a few scary experiences over the years (jellyfish, near drowning, rip currents, and being dragged and scraped on the beach like a beanbag on a cheese grater).   Combine fear with a bad shoulder and you get a middle-aged woman standing at the water's edge--no farther in-- hoping she doesn't get hit in the knees by a crashing wave.

But she gets hit anyway, when she turns her head to watch lifeguards send signals with red flags.

I took a long walk on the beach alone.  My soul is calmed and refreshed in the presence of the Atlantic Ocean lapping at my ankles.

My heart is happy to watch people enjoying life.  Dads holding their little girls above the surf. Moms waving the older kids to come in because they're out too far.  Grandmas with their saggy arms and wide-brimmed canvas hats holding hands with grandpas with pudgy bellies and clip-on sunglasses.
Teens with young, tight, tan skin and smiles  that stretch from coast to coast.

I didn't take my phone. I didn't take my camera.  I lived in the moment.

We went to the boardwalk and played too many rounds of Skeeball in the arcade. My husband and son  handed me stuffed animals as they retrieved their winnings. I felt like a teenage girl clutching the cute pale blue dolphin, big-eyed giraffe, three  hot pink fish,  and a baby seal.

We had to buy some cashew brittle and gummy Army Men just to get a bag to hold the prizes.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Not Gonna "86" the 186th Hodgepodge

Once again, Joyce pulled a handful of great questions out of her Hodgepodge pocket. 

Since sewing and quilting were dominating my spare time the last couple of weeks, I skipped participating in the Hodgepodges . And even though I really don't have time now, I'll give myself 13 minutes on this 13th day of August. 

Ready? Get set. Go!

1. The best part of waking up is knowing God is with me, in me, before me, beside me, around me. His compassions are new every morning. 

2.  Given a choice, which animal interaction would you most like to experience (or for those non-adventurers...which would you dislike the least?)Swim with the dolphins at one of several locations in the Florida Keys, a lion encounter ten minutes from Victoria Falls (Africa), or a day at a remote base camp high in the Big Sur wilderness via the Ventana Wildlife Society helping track California condors?

swimming with dolphins

What is something you fear about 'old age'? What is something you look forward to?

Losing my mental faculties completely in such a way that  I forget God, don't recognize my family or friends, and can't process anything mentally.

I look forward to having a passle of grandkids and , Lord willing, live long enough to hold a greatgrandchild. 

4. Hot sauce...are you a fan? If you answered yes, what's something you 
make/eat that must have hot sauce? On a scale of 1-10 how hot is too hot?

I am a fan, but the older I get, the less my stomach is a fan of hot sauce. So the number keeps declining. I usually ask for a 6 for hot sauces. I love spicy Chinese food.

5. It's been said that children learn what they live. What do you think children learn at your house?

To call on God for help, to think biblically, to find creative solutions to their problems, to do chores including their own laundry, to care for a dog, to play a musical instrument, to value education,  to love language and use it properly, to laugh at themselves, to enjoy a variety of food, and I'm sure they learn plenty of things I wish they wouldn't because of  my sin and my hubby's sin natures.

6. What's your favorite movie with a number in it's title?

I gave this one some thought and all I could remember was a movie from the late 70's called "Seven Alone," about a family of  seven orphaned children making their way alone as
pioneer Americans heading West.

7. Saturday (August 16th) is National Tell a Joke Day...share one here.

         I went to the psychiatrist last week after having several recurring nightmares. 
        "Doc," I said, "one night I dream that I'm a teepee and the next night I dream I'm a wigwam.  Over and over this happens. I dream I'm a teepee, then a wigwam. What's wrong with me?"
         "Oh, I know exactly what's wrong with you," the doctor replied. "You're two tents."  

(too tense? get it?) 

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
Our oldest son (26) broke his leg (the fibula near the ankle) while playing paintball on Saturday. He was at the bachelor party weekend for his cousin and was jumping from one bunker to the next when his foot planted and he heard a snap. 

In true male fashion of this family, he was rather cavalier about letting his wife know he was hurt. In fact, this happened in Delaware around 1:30 and he didn't call her right away. In fact, he TEXTED her a few hours later when he decided (was forced? I don't know the whole story) to let his aunt take him to the hospital for x-rays. 

How would you like to get a text when you live 2.5 hours away: "Hey, babe, so I think my leg is broken. I'm on the way to the ER."

He is scheduled for surgery at Johns Hopkins tomorrow morning at 6:30.  He needs a plate and screws, I think. (He doesn't tell me anything.)  I plan to sit with his wife while he's under the knife. Please pray for us all, including our daughter-in-law who is now the primary caregiver  for my daring darling of a son. (I'm trying not to cheer about that little perk of marrying off a 6'6" child who has no patience for sitting around doing nothing but healing.)

Good news is he obtained hero status in the game. Their team of 8 took on a team of 15 guys.  He was the last man standing on Team Bachelor, so he went down fighting and we're all proud of him for that!

--Oops, that HP took 40 minutes to write,  not 13.---